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With nae 

American Amnn anrp 

in France 




Star-Bulletin Press 

19 19 


Dr. James R. Judd 

19 19 



Preface 7 

Chapter I. Honolulu to France 9 

Chapter II. Paris 15 

Chapter III. American Ambulance of Xeuilly-Sur-Seine.... 19 

Chapter IV. The British Tommy's Story 28 

Chapter V. The American Ambulance of Juilly 32 

Chapter VI. Life in the Ambulance 38 

Chapter VII. The Surrounding Country 43 

Chapter VIII. The Wounded from the Battle of Champagne 47 

Chapter IX. Robert's Story 54 

Chapter X. The Trials of a Medecin Chef 62 

Chapter XI. Holidays and Festivals 67 

Chapter XII. Senlis 73 

Chapter XIII. The Battlefield of the Marne 79 

Chapter XIV. Aviators 86 

Chapter XV. Incidents and Observations 89 

Chapter XVI. Fragments 96 

Chapter XVII. Soldiers' Stories 104 

A School Teacher's Story 109 

A Foreign Legion Soldier's Story 114 

Sunny Jim's Story 1 1 7 

The Chasseur's Story 118 

Chapter XVIII. A Trip to the Front 123 

Chapter XIX. Leaving France and Home Again 136 



America n Automobiles ready to go to railway stations for wounded. .. 20 

A Decoration at Xeuilly 22 

The last three British Tommies at the American Ambulance cared for 

by American nurses 24 

After the decoration of the Zouave and his famous dog Which dug 

him out of an exploded mine 26 

American Ambulance branch hospital in the College of .Tuilly 33 

School boys of the College of .Tuilly 36 

A Cemetery of German dead on the battlefield of the Maine, cared 

for by the French Government 45 

Dr. and Mrs. .Tudd with a group of poilus and nurses at .Tuilly 49 

Breton peasants who have come to visit their son who is badly 

wounded 53 

A ward decorated for Christmas 70 

German "Kultur" at Senlis 74 

Crucifix in the hospital at Senlis, surrounded by bullet holes made by 

German guns 77 

Where an officer and fourteen of his men are buried on the battle- 
field of the Marne 80 

Where the Germans burned two thousand dead at Poligny 83 

American Aviators, Prince, McConnell and Rockwell 87 

Decoration of sixteen heroes from Verdun 91 

A funeral procession going from the hospital to the village church 93 

A soldier's burial 95 

French peasants at the bedside of their wounded son mi 

Before 106 

After 1Q7 

The ruined village of Souain joi 


Spread over 
the battlefield 
of the Marne 
are numerous 
graves mark- 
ed with white 
crosses and 
tiny tri-color 
Hags. -Late one 
fall afternoon 
in 1915 a peas- 
a n t woman 
leading- a litlle 
child by the 
hand was seen 
w a n d e ring 
from grave to 
grave and 
reading the 
n a m e s in- 
scribed on the 
little w h i t e 
crosses. They 
were looking 
for the grave 
of their sol- 
dier husband 
and father 

win) had died for his country and for us and our civiliza- 
tion. This picture has ever remained vivid in my mind. 

What is to become of the fatherless children of France? 
Should not we Americans show our appreciation of the 
sacrifices made by the noble French fathers by helping 
to care for their children and so help rebuild the nation ? 

This little book was written with the idea that the en- 
tire profits of its sale will go to help the fatherless chil- 
dren of France. The material is based on stories told 
by wounded in our care and on experiences as recorded 
in home letters during the period from July 1915 to 
October 1916 when the writer and his wife had the great 
privilege of living* with the poilus and playing a small 
part in the great struggle for freedom. 


With the American Ambulance 
in France 



When the great war began in August, 1914, there were 
several hundred Americans in Paris. Many of them were 
tourists, visiting Paris as part of the grand tour of the 
continent. The others belonged to the so-called American 
colony and because of their long residence there con- 
sidered Paris their home. 

When the Germans hacked their way through Belgium 
and the vast horde of Huns streamed across the frontier 
toward the heart of France, carrying death and destruc- 
tion in their wake, somewhat of a panic developed in 
Paris among those who were anxious to get away. 
Crowds collected in front of the banks eager to get 
money. Hotels and shops demanded cash payments. 
Paper money was discounted and gold was at a premium. 
Holders of large letters of credit suddenly found them- 
selves poor. The train service was overtaxed and inade- 
quate to handle the crowds, and automobiles were hired 
at fabulous prices. Trunks were left behind in the mad 
rush. As an illustration of the state of mind, a friend 
told me that an excited American rushed up to him on 
the street exclaiming, "Do you speak English? I will 
give you $500 to get me out of Paris." 

The Americans divided themselves into two classes. 
First, there were those who were part of the crowd of 
fugitives and resorted to every means in their power in 
order to effect their escape. The others were those who, 
loyal to the dictates of their moral obligation, resolved 
to stay to the last extremity and aid the city they loved. 


10 With the American Ambulance in France. 

Among these last there was fortunately an organization 
comprising the American Hospital of Paris, an admirable 
institution, which for several years past had been main- 
tained by Americans. With the American Hospital as a 
basis of unity the American Ambulance was founded and 
its services were offered to the French government. 

On the third day of September, when the Germans were 
at Compiegne, barely 50 miles away, the French govern- 
ment moved to Bordeaux. The Americans were released 
from their promised service, leaving them free to escape 
from the investment of Paris which, at that time, seemed 
inevitable. To the eternal honor of our fellow country- 
men be it remembered that they refused to accept the 
release from their promise and decided to cast their lot 
and if necessary risk their lives with the people of Paris. 
Then came the battle of the Marne and Paris was saved. 
From a small beginning the Ambulance grew to an or- 
ganization caring for over 1500 wounded a day and 
maintaining- more than 300 ambulances on duty in Paris 
and at the front. The cost of maintaining this work has 
been borne entirely by the American people. 

It is difficult to estimate the value of the work of the 
American Ambulance in this war. No less important 
than the material aid rendered the French wounded has 
been the moral effect of the organization of cultivating 
and maintaining a friendly feeling for America and every 
worker in the Ambulance — doctor, nurse and ambulance 
driver — on returning to America has been an ardent 
proselyte, burning with a sense of righteousness of the 
cause of the Allies and eager for the United States to 
take her proper place in the struggle. 

It was to join this organization that we started for 
France on June 12, 1915, and a few weeks later we found 
ourselves aboard the steamship "St. Louis" leavino- New 
York harbor. A little crowd of friends was at the wharf 
to say farewell, but there was no band or "leis." 

The "St. Louis" was an old ship, steady in smooth 
weather, but not over clean or comfortable. The label 

Honolulu to France. 


"American Line" was painted in huge white letters on 
the ship's sides. At night a cluster of electric lights with 
a reflector was lowered over each side and so placed 
that the letters were well illuminated. The ship was 
crowded. Since the war the American line has come into 
sudden popularity and consequently the rates have risen. 
We had a deck stateroom for which we paid $300 plus 
a $10 war tax. The hath was a tiny affair and a long 
ways off in the bowels of the ship. The sanitary ar- 
rangements left much to be desired. The food was fairly 
good. There was an orchestra of five pieces which played 
during meal time. Altogether we got on quite well and 
had no kick coming, provided the old tub landed us 
safely at Liverpool. We had provided ourselves with 
life preserver jackets in New York and kept them handy. 
The last night out, as we were in the danger zone, many 
of the passengers camped out on deck and talked most 
of the night. 

On July 19th land appeared and at eight o'clock in 
the evening we sailed up the Mersey and were docked at 
Liverpool. While it was still light, we lined up in the 
saloon, our passports were inspected and stamped by a 
benevolent looking old gentleman and we climbed off the 
St. Louis, grateful that our voyage was safely over. 

Liverpool looked as grimy and unattractive as usual. 
It was Sunday night and everything was quiet. There 
were no signs of war. We managed to lay in a supply 
of newspapers, fruit and candy and an hour or so before 
midnight we started on a special steamer train for 
London. We sped through the dark night at a great rate 
of speed and could not help contrasting the superiority 
of the English railroad travel over that of the United 
States. There were no sudden stops and jerks such as 
one encounters unexpectedly anywhere from San Fran- 
cisco to New York. The towns we passed through were 
dimly lighted on account of Zeppelins. The curtains of 
our train were drawn so that the light did not shine out. 
At half past three in the morning we reached Euston 

12 With the American Ambulance in France 

station and a great scramble for luggage ensued. Finally 
we extricated our baggage, piled it on a "four wheeler 
and hied ourselves to the Savoy Hotel. At the hotel two 
pieces of baggage were found to be missing, so I dashed 
back to the station in a taxi and found the two bags 
safely reposing on the platform just where we had left 
them. The station was now full of sailors who had ar- 
rived there just after us. As I started back to the Savoy 
several sailors tried to hail my taxi, so I stopped and told 
them to "pile in." The taxi was rapidly filled to its ca- 
pacity, and those who couldn't find room on the seats, 
sat on the steps and mud-guards. A much whiskered 
tar, smelling of salt water and tobacco, was my seat 
companion. He said that they were sailors of the North 
Sea fleet and were crossing London to Victoria station 
on their way to Portsmouth, he thought. Patrolling the 
North Sea was bitterly cold work and they were longing 
for the German fleet to come out. It was then broad day- 
light and we passed several dignified bobbies who yelled 
at the sailors to get off the running boards, to which the 
tars responded in true democratic fashion by applying 
their thumbs to their noses and actively wiggling their 

London seemed very much the same as on previous 
visits and gave one the same comfortable and home-like 
feeling. There was a little less street traffic and fewer 
American tourists were in evidence. A good many uni- 
forms were to be seen on the streets, and huge posters 
and notices calling for enlistments were prominently dis- 
played. There were recruiting stations here and there, 
but we saw few recruits. We hunted up our favorite res- 
taurant, the "Cheshire Cheese," and enjoyed a delicious 
dinner of sole, chops, pigeon pie, peas and toasted cheese. 
At the "Empire" afterwards we saw a mediocre per- 
formance before a crowded house, with orchestra seats 
at 10s apiece. 

At the French consulate hundreds of people were ahead 
of us waiting to get their papers. The work was so heavy 

Honolulu to France. 


that an adjoining residence was used to handle the crowd. 
Finally after several hours waiting- we received tickets 
from the porter and when our numbers were called we 
were allowed to enter a large living room already filled 
with all kinds of people. Women and children composed 
the majority of those waiting and all looked very weary. 
Finally the numbers are called again and we proceeded 
upstairs to a room where several officials were seated at 
small tables. In turn each one of us was seated at a table 
facing an official and subjected to an inquiry as to the 
reasons for wishing to go to France. I showed several 
letters which produced little effect until letters from Dr. 
Ma rques, French Consul of Honolulu, stating in French 
the object of our journey, were read. These letters were 
like magic and our passports were given us without fur- 
ther trouble. 

At ten the next morning we left London for Folke- 
stone. The usual charming views of rural England were 
changed by seeing here and there training camps and 
bodies of troops drilling in the fields. Aside from that 
it was hard to tell that this mighty nation was at war. 
At Folkestone we formed in line, passed through a docket 
and our papers were examined and stamped. We were 
then allowed to proceed aboard the channel steamer 
"Sussex." No staterooms were to be had, so we pro- 
cured steamer chairs and prepared for the worst of our 
four and a half hours trip to Dieppe. There were many 
vessels to be seen in the channel as we left the English 
shore and several destroyers gave us a feeling of se- 
curity. Soon we passed out of sight of land, ships and 
destroyers and were alone. There was quite a sea and 
the spray splashed over us sitting out on deck. The 
weather was surprisingly cold and chilly. The steamer 
was crowded with passengers, most of them seasick, and 
they were not always particular to get to leeward when 
they had to pay tribute to Neptune. I remember seeing a 
little French cabin-boy or "mousse" trying to persuade a 
disconsolate looking English boy that it was desirable 

14 With the American Ambulance in France. 

to pass his fingers clown his throat. This pantomime 
continued for some time, but the English lad either would 
not be persuaded or felt too badly to attempt it. 

The cold gray water of the channel looked very un- 
inviting. We wondered if there were any German sub- 
marines around and if this part of the channel was pro- 
tected by a steel net. We were all subject to a feeling of 
helplessness as we had at least expected an escort. That 
our fears were not groundless was shown by subsequent 
events when the "Sussex" was torpedoed, and this act of 
barbarism became an international question. 

A trip never seemed so slow, until finally we feasted 
our eyes on the white cliffs of Dieppe, which looked so 
much like those we had left at Folkestone, as if the land 
had been cleft and pushed apart. 

At Dieppe there was the animation and vivacity of 
conversation that one finds in a French seaport town. 
Once again we were herded into line and our papers ex- 
amined and stamped. But nothing mattered now. We 
were on the beloved soil of France again. 

A surprisingly good train carried us to Paris in three 
hours. While we enjoyed an excellent table d'hote din- 
ner for five francs, we looked out of the car windows at 
the peaceful Normandy country and could not realize 
that the most terrible warfare the world has ever seen 
was in progress a few miles away. 

At the Paris station we were delighted to find that our 
baggage had come through with us, and taking it along 
in our fiacre we were soon comfortably settled at the 
splendid Edouard VII hotel. 




How thrilling, almost magical after a good sleep to 
wake up in Paris, stroll out on the boulevards, rub one's 
eyes and realize that we are really there ! The weather 
was delightful for midsummer, a temperature of 70° 
with clear sunny skies. Beautiful flowers were grouped 
for sale at the street corners. We recognized our old 
friends the Opera, Cafe de la Paix, the Madeleine and 
the Place de la Concorde at the end of the rue Royale. 

Even in Paris it is hard to realize that war is at hand. 
There are soldiers to be seen here and there. Some of 
them are crippled, walking with crutches or have band- 
ages on their heads. There are a good many women 
in mourning. Nearly all the shops are open and the 
larger magasins like the Lafayette and Printemps, are 
crowded with shoppers. The restaurants are well filled 
with patrons and there is the same long menu of delicious 
food with apparently little elevation of prices. We no- 
ticed only that the Grand Vatel and Tour d'Argent are 
closed. The Louvre is closed but a part of the Luxem- 
burg is open, also the Musee Carnavalet. The big, 
noisy busses are no more. This is not a matter of regret 
as they are doing useful work at the front transporting 
troops. Women do men's work as conductors on the 
trains and metro, driving fiacres and cleaning streets. I 
have never seen the streets of Paris so clean. The banks 
close from twelve to two on account of the lack of em- 
ployees and many of the stores do the same. There are 
crowds of people sitting out on the sidewalks of the 
cafes in the delightful Paris fashion. At ten o'clock the 
cafes close and no music is allowed in any restaurants. 

At night one notices a great difference from the Paris 
of peace times. The night life of Montmarte is no more. 
The Bal Bouiller, Moulin Rouge and other places from 
which Americans have gained erroneous ideas of French 

16 With the American Ambulanc e^Pr ance . 

life and character, are closed. The streets are quite dark 
but not as dark as we found them in London. The dark- 
ening of the streets is for two reasons. First as a pre- 
caution against Zeppelin raids, and second, as a matter of 
economy. Most of the theatres are running, but grand 
opera will not be attempted. On a Sunday afternoon 
we had a four hours' musical treat at the Opera Comique. 
Charpentier's "Louise" was given admirably. The house 
was crowded, many of the audience being soldiers and 
some of them convalescents with their arms in slings or 
their heads bandaged. It was pathetic to see a number 
of blind soldiers in the audience. At the end of the per- 
formance Madame Chenal sang the soul-stirring "Mar- 
seillaise" with the audience standing. We could feel 
thrills run up and down our backs. 

Although music is forbidden in cafes and restaurants, 
yet the government thinks that good music is a beneficial 
tonic for the people, and there are fine concerts in the 
Tuilleries and Luxembourg gardens. Soldiers attend 
these concerts in large numbers and the music receives 
much appreciation as shown by the attention and ap- 

On bright sunny afternoons we enjoyed sitting out on 
the sidewalk of the Cafe de la Paix and watching the 
crowds pass by. War does not prevent the Parisians 
from enjoying this pleasure, and although there are many 
uniforms and some mutiles to be seen, it is hard to realize 
that men are being killed barely fifty miles away. 

With all the losses and suffering France has endured 
there is no depression, but a smiling philosophical attitude 
is apparent on all sides. Truly it takes a war to show a 
nation's real character. 

We heard an interesting spy story the other day. A 
French girl who had lived in Alsace and knew the Ger- 
man language stepped on a man's foot as she was enter- 
ing the Metro. The man was dressed as an English of- 
ficer and to her surprise he swore a German oath. She 
resolved to follow him. so got off when he did and reported 



him to a gendarme, who shrugged his shoulders and 
wouldn't do anything. She then followed him to a house 
and noting the address, sped to the nearest police station. 
The house was quickly raided and not only was the spu- 
rious English officer caught but two other spies and a 
quantity of incriminating papers. 

Germany had the most complete spy system the world 
has ever seen. Not only was Paris well covered but the 
country towns and villages as well. The authorities have 
warned the people to be on their guard by attaching no- 
tices in public places "Taisez-vous, Mefiez-vous. Les 
oreilles d'ennemis vous eContent." This warning was not 
taken very seriously and was a favrrite theme for jest at 
the theatres. 

One of the chief topics of conversation is, "When will 
the war end ?" Great things are always expected of the 
offensive ''next year," after the bad winter weather is 
over. There is some talk of the pinch of starvation in 
Germany and the possibilities of a revolution. It seems 
that thinking people do not take much stock in these 

The starvation of Germany is counter-balanced by 
Germany's food economies and her increased agricul- 
tural acquisitions in Belgium, Northern France, Poland 
and Servia. Thousands of prisoners furnish much of 
the agricultural labor. A revolution is discredited be- 
cause the great mass of the German people have been 
taught and trained that the government should do their 
thinking for them. No, the war will be brought to an end 
by military superiority, and that means a long and bloody 
conflict. The battle of the Marne saved Paris, saved 
France, saved civilization. The noble Belgian defense, 
the heroism of the French soldier and "the contemptible 
little British army" at the battle of the Marne crumpled 
up Germany's plan of world conquest right at the start. 
But without England's aid France would have been 
paralyzed with most of her coal and iron mines in the 
hands of the enemy. After the battle of the Marne 

18 With the Ameri can Ambulance in France. 

France's task was stupendous— to hold back the long 
battle line until British troops could be trained and take 
over a powerful position. This could never have been 
accomplished without the superiority of the British navy. 

Germany launched a tremendous attack at Verdun, 
planning- to beat her way through by main force. Those 
weeks and months of struggle were anxious days in 
France. When news of the terrible slaughter became 
generally known, there were questions among the civil- 
ians : "Why don't they give up Verdun and let the Ger- 
mans have it? It isn't worth all the slaughter." "No," 
the French soldier said "lis ne passeront pas." "Why 
don't the English start an offensive to relieve the pressure 
on Verdun?" "Don't you know the English are not 
ready yet and they are carrying out Joffre's plan? They 
will attack when the right time comes." We often 
thought that the idea that the French were being sacri- 
ficed at Verdun, while the British were inactive was part 
of the subtle German propaganda. 

We kept wondering what the United States was go- 
ing to do in this great world mix-up. We came to France 
with the idea that this was a European war, the breaking 
of treaties and invasion of territory, far apart from 
America. We were not long in France before we dis- 
covered that the Allies were fighting for the very prin- 
ciples on which the foundations of our liberty rest and 
that there could be no such thing as neutrality of heart. 
A German victory in Europe meant America as the next 
victim in the world conquest. The Americans whom we 
have talked with think that our country has played an 
ignoble part thus far. We have made money out of the 
war, lots of it, and have sent back very little in compari- 
son to our gains. But there is a feeling of confidence that 
the time will come when America will see that the Allies 
are fighting our battles and that the United States will 
take her place in the struggle for democracy 

The American Ambulance of N cuiUy-Sur-Scinc. 19 



Going- up the Champs Elysees, past the Arc de Tri- 
omphe and along the Avenue des Grandes Armees one 
comes to the Porte Maillot. Passing through this gate 
one enters the suburb of Neuilly and is now officially out 
of Paris. As the taxi drivers can claim an extra rate 
of fare after passing through the gate, we used to pay 
off the driver at the gate, walk through and take another 
taxi to drive to the Ambulance. That was in the early 
days. Later on we learned to economize by going on 
the tram or metro for 30 centimes. 

At the beginning of the war a splendid new school 
building, the Lycee Pasteur, was reaching completion. 
The Board of Governors of the American Hospital in 
Paris offered to the French government to maintain a 
hospital for the care of wounded soldiers for the dura- 
tion of the war, and this building was assigned to them. 
It should not be forgotten that in the war of 1870 the 
Americans of Paris organized and maintained an Amer- 
ican ambulance which rendered valuable service. 

By completing the equipment and installing the neces- 
sary hospital furniture, it was found that the Lycee Pas- 
teur lended itself admirably for the purpose of a hospital. 
The construction of the building with plenty of windows, 
splendid lighting and ventilation rendered it an ideal hos- 
pital building, and it is doubtful if among the 4,000 or 
more war hospitals in France, there is a finer institu- 
tion. There are accommodations for 600 patients in 
round numbers with large wards and small wards for 
officers and special cases. A number of the wards are 
maintained by contributions from different cities and 
states, and this fact is designated by names over the door- 
ways — New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Vir- 

The American Ambulance of Neuilly-Sur-Seine. 21 

ginia, Rhode Island and others are there. We hope there 
will be a "Hawaii Ward" some day. 

The Ambulance Committee consists of : 

Capt. Frank H. Mason. Chairman. 

Rohert Bacon. 

Lawrence V. Benet. 

Dr. C. W. Du Bouchet. 

F. W. Monahan. 

L. V. Twyeffort. 

Mrs. W. K. Yanderbilt. 

Mrs. H. P. Whitney. 

The surgical staff of about thirty doctors are almost 
all volunteers from America, and some of our most fa- 
mous surgeons have served there. Among them are Drs. 
Blake, Hutchinson, Harte, Powers, Murphy, Cushing and 

The dental department, organized by Dr. Hayes and 
ably conducted by volunteer American dentists, has done 
splendid work, especially in restoration of shattered jaws. 

The nursing staff consists of about 90 trained nurses, 
most of whom have come from America. There are a 
large number of auxiliary nurses under the able direc- 
tion of Mrs. George Munroe. 

The orderly work is done by volunteers, business men, 
artists, dilitantes, Rhodes scholars from Oxford and 

A useful feature of the ambulance is the transportation 
service. A large number of cars are ready day or night 
to go the Gare la Chapelle, receive loads of wounded and 
transport them to hospitals designated by the authorities. 

The Field Service sections stationed at different parts 
of the front render valuable service to the French and 
have transported over 400,000 wounded. This part of the 
ambulance service is ably directed by A. Piatt Andrews, 
formerly assistant treasurer of the United States. 

On my first visit to the hospital I hunted up my for- 
mer teacher, Dr. Blake, and found him making "rounds." 
He gave me a cordial welcome and upon my asking for 

The American Ambulance of N cuiUy-Sur-Scinc. 23 

work, said that there was plenty of it and that he would 
be glad to have me join his staff. 

The first sensation of a eivilian doctor on starting to 
work in a ward of French soldiers is one of bewilder- 
ment. There is a mass of wooden frames, pulleys and 
weights holding shattered bones in comfortable positions. 
The awful looking wounds make one wonder how a man 
ever survived such an injury and then how will it be 
possible to save these shattered limbs. At once one is 
impressed by the courage, cheerfulness and patience of 
the French soldier. Some are mere peasant boys of 18 
to 20, others are educated men, merchants, school teach- 
ers, law and medical students. The majority are coun- 
try boys, sons of the soil. They all expect to get well 
and most of them do. The worst cases are kept out on 
porches, where they have the benefit of the fresh air and 

At present all the patients are "old cases" and the op- 
erations performed are for the removal of pieces of shell 
and dead splinters of bone. The patients are carefully 
X-rayed and the pieces of shell located. Then there is an 
electrical apparatus invented by Professor Bergonie of 
Bordeaux by means of which one can feel a piece of 
shell vibrating in the rlesh. Even with these aids the 
pieces of shell are very elusive and sometimes surpris- 
ingly difficult to find. The work consists of morning 
rounds with Dr. Blake, afterwards operations if there are 
any to be done and then the dressings. 

L. has been assigned to a small ward, where she makes 
beds, helps at the "pansements," takes temperatures and 
pulses, helps with the meals and in many other ways. 
She looks real business-like in her French Red Cross 
uniform and enjoys the work thoroughly. 

The food served to the wounded is very good and the 
blesses are very appreciative of what is done for them. 
The approximate cost of maintaining the hospital is 
$1,000.00 a day, and this is entirely a matter of subscrip- 

The American Ambulance of Ncnilly-Sur-Scinc 25 

In order to economize time we moved to a small villa 
near the hospital, kept by the head waiter of the Ritz. 
He is an Italian and speaks several languages and sets a 
good table. We have our coffee in our room at 7 a. m., 
and are at the hospital at 8 o'clock. We have lunch in 
the basement of the hospital with a crowd of 200, com- 
posed of doctors, nurses, auxiliaries, ambulance drivers 
and personnel and the noise is like that of a boiler fac- 
tory. However, everyone seems to have a good appetite 
and to be in good spirits. At night we are too tired to 
go out, so dine at the Villa for 3 francs. For sixty cents 
or less, as a franc is worth about 18 cents, we have a 
delicious meal and the enemy barely 50 miles away. 
Fancy getting any such meal in New York for 60 cents ! 
It can't be that the food itself is so much superior, but 
it is the art in cooking it, in which the French excel. 

It's a wonder that the blesses after the terrible expe- 
riences they have been through are not more nervous. 
With a few exceptions they are calm and patient. One 
of our men lay badly wounded under a pile of dead men 
for thirteen hours before he was rescued. The soldiers 
say that the German line with its concrete fortifications 
and heavy artillery is too strong to break through. 

One of our patients was a boy of seventeen who ran 
away to the army as he was too young to be called. He 
was recovering from a wound of the abdomen and wrote 
a verse of poetry for me which he entitled : 

En Souvenir de ma Reconnaissance. 
(Poeme, Sans Pretentions) 
and concluded the poem as follows : 

Vers vous Americains amis si precieux 

Des bons soins que dans votre hopital j'ai recus 

Je me souviendrai durant toute ma vie 

Dites-moi? Comment voulez-vous que j'oublie? 

Mais je ne veux pas donner de details menus 

Ma reconnaissance vers vous s'envole 

Semblable a un leger oiseau frivole. 

The American Ambulance of N cuiUy-Sur-Seine. 27 

Charmant petit oiseau, s'echappant du fond du coeur 
Vous souhaitant pour toujours joie et bonheur. 

In parenthesis he wrote in English : "Excuse my writ- 
ing because I am in the bed." 

A present je suis sauve et dans ce petit coin du n< ni- 
veau monde transports clans notre chere France. Je suis 
soigne admirablement, jamais je n'oublierai le denoue- 
ment dont font preuve Infirmiers et Infirmieres. Leur 
souvenirs restera toujours grave dans ma memoire. Vive 
la France ! Vive les Americains ! 

A big tile-layer from Montreal responded to the call 
of France and is now recovering from a bad wound of 
the arm. He enjoys talking English and acting as inter- 
preter for the nurses. A dapper little soldier lived several 
years in New Orleans, speaks perfect English and seems 
glad to be among Americans. 

There is a Zouave in the ward who has lost a leg and 
hobbles around on crutches. He owns a fine setter dog 
which is the only animal pet of the hospital. The dog 
was at the front with his master when the Germans ex- 
ploded a mine under a section of trench. Fortunately 
the dog was somewhat in the rear in the vicinity of a field 
kitchen and had the opportunity of saving his master's 
life. As soon as the explosion occurred the setter ran 
up and, after digging furiously awhile, hauled the Zouave 
out of a pile of earth. The soldier was unconscious and 
had a leg badly mangled but survived his injuries. The 
dog became a great favorite at the hospital and when the 
Zouave was decorated, the setter received a special 

In the wards are three British Tommies, all that are 
left of the British wounded brought to the ambulance 
after the battle of the Aisne. One of them was in the 
retreat from Mons and gave me a graphic account of 
those terrible days. 

28 With the American Ambulance in Fran 


After serving- nine years in India and Burma, my time 
expired on the third of June, 1914, leaving me three 
years to serve on the reserve. I was just beginning to 
enjoy civil life when suddenly, which everyone knows, 
England declared war on Germany on the fourth of 
August. Of course, that meant I had to be called to the 
colors again. I reported at my depot as soon as pos- 
sible. I was equipped and sent over to France and, on 
about the fourteenth of August, I disembarked at Saint 
Nazaire. I stayed there two days then went to join my 
regiment in Belgium. I was not there very long before 
I found out it was no joke but we held our own pretty 
well until the twenty-sixth of August. We were at Mons 
at the time and were forced to retire. They were all 
over us. Well, we started off with the enemy at our 
backs and I never had such an experience in my life. 
The enemy was easily eight times our strength, so all we 
could do was to keep tracking along and they were mow- 
ing us down like sheep all the time. We were wonder- 
ing why we could not retaliate and make a fight of it but 
all we could get from our commanders was 'keep going.' 
True, we had very little artillery and I am sure we would 
have been slaughtered had we tried to make a stand. 
Well, we obeyed our command. We were marching along 
in our sleep at times. We were doing over thirty miles 
some days. Of course, we were marching through the 
night as well. Very little rest we got. As soon as we 
did halt we could hardly get time for a rest before the 
enemy was shelling us again and we had to make an- 
other move. 

About the worst part of the retirement I witnessed 
happened to my regiment at a place called Meaux. This 
w as on about the seventh day, I believe if was the third 
of September. We had been marching all night and this 

The British Tommy's Story. 


was about 6 a. m. We came across what we thought was 
a French outpost. Our colonel questioned them and they 
reported "all clear" so he looked for a likely place to halt 
us so that we could get a little snack which we were badly 
in need of. At last we came across a large plot of open 
ground with a nullah in it. We marched into this nul- 
lah. Up to now my regiment had been very fortunate. 
We had just been reinforced and were about 1,200 strong. 
Our colonel gave us orders to pile arms and take off our 
equipment. In less than ten minutes after we had done 
so, a shower of bullets came in to us. We were sur- 
rounded by Maxims from the top of the nullah and no 
way out of it only to fly, which we did, most men leaving 
their arms behind, but not only that, we left over 700 
dead and wounded, all in a few minutes. But for the 
Irish Fusiliers, who were on our left, we would have 
lost more as they kept the enemy at bay until we got 
under cover, when what was left of us got together 
again. We did not amount to 500, and there were not 
200 of us armed and we also lost our Maxims. The 
outpost we took for French was a German outpost in 
French uniforms. Tricky dogs ! 

The next day all the brigades got together, and it was 
the same old thing. Retire. Retire. This was, I think, 
about the ninth day of it and I am sure every man in the 
British army was cribbing, as a soldier always does. 
They were all saying, "When are we going to turn 
around and get a smack at them ?" 

That night General French visited our brigade, and 
no doubt he visited the other brigades as well, for he 
must have heard about the discontent among his troops, 
and he said, "Men, if you will only finish this march, 
which you must do, it will last through the night, and 
tomorrow I will promise you a fight." There was not a 
man who did not cheer him, and every man marched all 
night with a good heart. 

At daybreak the following morning we were seventeen 
miles from Paris, but little we knew that then. General 

30 With the American Ambulance in France. 

French was as good as his word. We got a fight that 
day. We turned about and, thank God, the retreat was 
over. Then it became our turn. We started to advance 
and we gave them something for their money. We never 
left them alone. We would not give them time for wind. 
We let them see that we were made of better stuff than 
they were. They were surrendering by thousands, com- 
pletely fagged out and we were shelling them now, mo-w- 
ing them down worse than they did us, and we were cap- 
turing guns and ammunition galore. We kept them on 
the run until we got to the Marne, where they turned 
around to make a fight. Just what we wanted. This 
was, I think, the tenth or eleventh of September. The 
battle lasted two days and we didn't half give them some- 
thing. We popped them off as fast as the clock could 
tick at times. At last they were forced to retire. As fast 
as they retired we followed them up until night came, 
and we had a good night's rest without being disturbed. 

We started next morning straight into action. My 
regiment got some hand to hand fighting this day in a 
village. We got in close quarters with the bayonet and 
we let them feel it. We captured the village and many 
prisoners and also left a few hundred dead there. Then 
we came to the Aisne. Here they held us in check a few 
hours until word came that we must cross the bridge to- 
day at all costs. We did, but not without great loss. 
This was at midday on the thirteenth of September. The 
remainder of that day there was heavy cannonading on 
both sides, but we held our position, which had cost us 

We were now in Soissons. That night my regiment 
was on outpost duty and it was pouring heavens hard 
with rain and we laid out in the open. We were like 
drowned rats next morning when we got relieved, but 
we got a nice day's rest, for we had got a good position. 
We were in a long deep nullah out of sight from the 
enemy and it was only about twelve feet wide. They 
would have to be very accurate if they wanted to drop 

The British Tommy's Story. 


a shell in it. The Germans were shelling" us very heavy 
all that clay and our side hardly ever fired a round, only 
now and again the artillery would fire one. We won- 
dered what the matter was, but we found out later we 
were short of ammunition. That is why we could not 
advance any further. 

The enemy's shells were flying over our heads and 
dropping short all that day, but they could not hit our 
mark. We got so used to them we took no notice of them 
at the finish. Night time came and the shelling ceased, 
but as soon as daybreak came the shelling started again. 
Still we took no notice, until about midday an enemy 
aeroplane hovered over us for about half an hour and 
then returned to his own line, and soon a shell dropped 
straight into the nullah. I got it along with five others 
wounded and one killed. One of the wounded was my 
captain. I lay there only about ten minutes, then I was 
picked up by our stretcher bearers and carried to an old 
church about a quarter of a mile away. There I saw 
my captain. He was laid next to me. We got our 
wounds attended to and stayed there until midnight, and 
all the time we were there the enemy were shelling the 
church. Luckily we got away without further injury. 
They dared not move us in the day time because we had 
to cross the bridge again, and the enemy had the range 
on it. We were moved at midnight and went away in 
ambulance wagons to another dressing station, then, after 
being dressed, we left there at once in motor wagons 
and arrived at another dressing station, where our 
wounds were dressed again and we were taken to the 
railway station. W r e were placed in cattle trucks and 
then we started on our journey. We traveled all night 
and until noon the next day. Then they took us from the 
cattle trucks and placed us on a railway platform, and 
it was to my delight for I never experienced such a ride 
in my life. I expected to arrive at Paris in pieces. They 
gave us a good feed, then the doctor came round and 
picked out the worst cases and told us we were to be 

32 With the American Ambulance in France. 

taken to the American Ambulance, which was about ten 
miles from the station. 

We were placed in ambulance cars at once. Here again 
I saw my captain. He was put in the same car as my- 
self, and we had a good chat together. We arrived at 
the hospital about 4 p. m. I was taken to a nice clean 
bed, bathed and made as comfortable as possible, and 
I am sure there is not a hospital anywhere where a 
wounded man could get better attended to. 



What a change to be transferred from the great 
bustling city of Paris to this quiet little village of Juilly ! 
Although but 23 miles distant from Paris, yet it took us 
two hours to make the trip from the Gare du Nord to 
the tiny station of St. Mard. Numerous troop trains 
having the right of way delayed the passenger traffic, as 
they do all over that part of France where there is mili- 
tary activity. American workers at Neuilly, in France 
for the first time in their lives, have difficulty in making 
fellow-mortals understand their pronunciation of the 
word Neuilly. The word Juilly exacts an equal number 
of variations in pronunciation. Perhaps there are no 
two names in French geography harder to pronounce 
correctly and, curiously enough, these two places were 
chosen for the two hospitals of the American Ambu- 
lance. One of our doctors who had just arrived from 
America took the wrong trains in Paris and found him- 
self at Meaux. It was a rainy night, he was carrying a 
heavy suit-case and he did not know a word of French. 
He wandered around trying to find someone who could 
understand his pronunciation of Juilly. After trying 
without success every combination of sound that he could 
think of he was about to conclude that the place did not 

The American Ambulance branch hospital in the College of Jitilly. 

34 With the American Ambulance in Fran 

exist, when he thought of writing the name on a piece 
of paper. 

When Mrs. H. P. Whitney, in December, 1914, offered 
to equip and maintain a hospital for French wounded 
soldiers, several locations were offered by the govern- 
ment and the college of Juilly was finally chosen. The 
institution lies between two main railways running 
toward the battle line, and at that time was considered 
quite near the front. If you look at a map of France you 
will not in all probability find Juilly, as it is a village of 
only some 400 inhabitants. The name Juilly is derived 
from Julius, and it is thought that at one time Julius 
Caesar had a camp there. At any rate, we know that 
the Romans invaded this part of Gaul and in the College 
Park is a splendid Roman wine jar which has been un- 
earthed and mounted on a pedestal at the end of an ave- 
nue of elm trees. 

The College was founded in 1630 by the Oratorians 
and was made a royal academy by Louis XIII. Some 
famous men have been students here, as Villars, d'Artag- 
nan, Montesquieu, Norfolk, Howard d'Arundel and 
Jerome Napoleon. The great Napoleon came here once 
to see his brother Jerome and the room where he slept 
is pointed out to visitors, also a framed letter on the wall 
in which Napoleon gives his brother good advice as to 
his school behavior. 

It was not a new experience for the College to re- 
ceive wounded soldiers, for it was used as a hospital 
both in the wars of the French revolution and in the 
Franco-Prussian war. At the battle of the MarneSOO 
wounded were brought here and covered the floors of 
the corridors, and German prisoners were locked up in 
a room which was afterwards used as our kitchen. 

The buildings are a sturdy pile of three storied stone 
structures with little pretense to architectural merit. Only 
the northeast wing and the college theatre are used for 
the wounded with accommodations for 220. The rest of the 
college is intact and instruction of the youth of France 

The American Ambulance of Juilly. 


continues as in the times of peace. One of the charming 
features of the place is the park in the rear of the build- 
ings. Here are wide lawns, beautiful avenues of elm 
trees and a small lake, the home of snow-white swans. 

The Americans early in 1915 had a busy time of it 
converting the old stone building with walls four feet or 
more in thickness and devoid of all plumbing, into a 
building of modern hospital requirements. Workmen 
were mobilized with the army, and it was with the great- 
est difficulty that men could be obtained to install the 
plumbing, heating and electric lighting systems. All the 
material had to be assembled in Paris and hauled out in 
trucks, some of the hauls requiring two days. The spring 
of St. Genevieve was tapped and water pumped to cist- 
erns on the roof. Electricity was brought from a one- 
horse concern at the village of St. Mard, about two miles 
away. A central heating plant and sewer system were 
installed and the necessary equipment of an up-to-date 
hospital completed. 

The little village is a quaint affair as are most French 
villages. There is the town square lined with linden trees 
in front of the college and across the square is the village 
church. There is of course the Mairie and l'ficole des 
Garcons et l'ficole des Filles. The mayor is a well pre- 
served man of sturdy stock whose only son is in the 
trenches. The mayor's wife is a sweet, admirable woman 
living in constant dread of hearing bad news about her 
son. Yet she would not have him back in safety, as she 
knows he is fighting for France and for her loved ones. 
We, in America, have too little thought of the noble 
French women who are on their knees every day praying 
that the bitter cup may pass them by, but meeting their 
sorrow with wonderful resignation if this prayer is de- 
nied them. 

There are a few stores selling general merchandise, 
the butcher shop, the pork shop (always a separate insti- 
tution in France ) , little fruit, tobacco and newspaper 
shops and several estaminets or wine shops. The post 

7 he American Ambulance of Juilly. 


office and telephone are directed by two or three intelli- 
gent women. Mail is delivered from Juilly to surround- 
ing hamlets and is carried by a young widow. In good 
weather she rides a bicycle, but in bad weather she does 
her ten miles a day on foot. Her husband was killed 
in the battle of the Marne, leaving her with a young 
child, alone and unprovided. "Yes," she says, "life is 
hard. I am left a widow with a young child, but my 
husband died for France and that means that he died de- 
fending me and my son and the other women and chil- 
dren of France." She never complains as she trudges 
along the muddy roads in the rain, and she always has a 
cheerful smile for the Americans. 

There are two shoemakers, the tile-roof man and the 
village carpenter and blacksmith. The last two are ex- 
pert artisans and are of great service to the Ambulance. 
Of inns there are none at all. The village is too small to 
support one. Likewise with the gendarmes. There is 
an antiquated garde champetre who fixes official notices 
on the Mairie and at times goes through the streets ring- 
ing a bell and reading governmental announcements. 

The hospital is glad to get village help for the laundry 
and kitchen but with so much work to be done in their 
homes it is difficult to get women workers. However, 
there are over fifty women from Juilly and surrounding 
villages who work in the laundry and kitchen, and act as 
ward maids and scrub women. 

The staff consists of a varying number of doctors, most 
of them Americans, twenty to twenty-five trained nurses, 
several auxiliary nurses and some volunteer orderlies. 
There is an automobile ambulance section attached to 
the hospital. Most of the drivers are young men from 
the United States and they drive Ford cars which are 
fitted to carry three lying-down patients or couches. 

For some months the wounded were received from 
Compiegne, which is about seven miles from the trenches. 
This made a run of about thirty miles in ambulances 
which was too severe for badly wounded men, especially 

33 With the American Ambulance in France. 

in bad weather. Besides that, the possibility of the hos- 
pital being kept full of patients depended on the activity 
of that section of the line and when there were few or 
no engagements there were no wounded to be had. 
Later on a different arrangement was made whereby the 
hospital, although geographically in the Zone des Armees, 
was included in the Camp Retranche de Paris. This 
system was much more advantageous, as wounded were 
received from along the battle line from Verdun to the 

The guns at the front can be heard every day at Juilly. 
Our first great sensation in the war zone was an inde- 
scribable thrill when we heard the cannon booming in 
the distance towards Soissons. The sound, now louder 
now fainter, when heard for the first time cannot fail 
to make an impression. This voice of death blown by the 
winds over the fields and ruined villages of France brings 
a consciousness of the reality of war as does no other 
sound. To one who has not heard it, the sensation can- 
not be imparted. To one who has heard it, the memory 
will never be forgotten. 



We find at once a great difference between the living 
here and at Neuilly. At Neuilly, while of course the pa- 
tients were French, yet it was essentially an American 
hospital and English was spoken freely. Here we live 
in much more intimacy with the French and a speaking 
knowledge of the language is essential if one wants to 
be of the greatest service. Accordingly we looked around 
for a teacher and found that the housekeeper's daugh- 
ter gave lessons. She was a buxom French girl of 19 
with a perfect American accent. 

Life in the Ambulance. 


"Where did you learn to speak English so well?" we 
asked her. 

"Oh, I went to school in America for eight months." 

"In what part of America were you?" 

"I was in Honolulu at the Punahou School." 

Then she told us how her parents had taken her some 
years before to Australia and not wanting to stay there 
decided to return to France by way of America. They 
had stopped off at Honolulu, where she had gone to 
school and although since then she had not had much 
opportunity to practise speaking English she had never 
forgotten what she had learned. 

Our bedroom is across the hall from one of the large 
wards and was formerly one of the professor's rooms. 
It is convenient to be so near the blesses, as when one is 
called at night for a hemorrhage, it doesn't take long to 
get there. 

The daily routine is as follows. Breakfast of cafe au 
lait, toast and eggs at 7 a. m. We drink our coffee out 
of bowls to save crockery and eat off an oil cloth cov- 
ered table to save laundry. "Rounds" at 9 a. m. After 
which dressings are done. The poilus have their lunch 
at eleven and the staff at noon. The dejeuner is the best 
meal of the day and consists of some kind of meat or 
fish, two or three vegetables, sometimes a salad and 
cheese and coffee. We are in the Brie region and a ripe 
Brie cheese is delicious. If there are operations to be 
done, these commence at 1 :30 p. m. The operating room 
is well equipped and the technique is excellent. In the 
afternoon we usually take a walk and roam around the 
surrounding country. There is a tennis court located 
in a grove of elm trees in the park where we play occa- 
sionally. It seems strange to play tennis while we can 
hear cannon booming in the distance and aeroplanes oc- 
casionally sail over our heads. 

Supper is served at 7 p. m., and is a plain meal of 
meat, vegetables and fruit. In the evenings we read or 

40 With the American Ambulance in France. 

indulge in a game of ping-pong in one of the long stone 

Among our blesses are a number of Algerians. They 
are fine looking fellows with well-shaped heads. They 
seem quiet and docile, but on dit that they are demons 
in a fight. They do not like the cold weather and the 
trench warfare. Under their quiet demeanor is a quick 
temper. One day when a band of a passing regiment 
was giving a concert in the courtyard and the soldiers 
were crowded around the musicians, we heard a loud 
crack of something breaking and discovered that an Al- 
gerian in a fit of sudden rage had broken his cane over 
a French soldier's head and knocked him senseless. 
There was nothing to do but carry the soldier on a 
stretcher to his bed and "evacuate" the offender at once 
to his depot. The Arabs do not know what to make of 
having women nurses around. They call them "Mees" 
or "Mama" and the stout nurses are greatly in favor. 
They want to take the fat ones back to Algeria with 

Two of our cars go three times a week to Compiegne 
for wounded and it is a fine ride. Our route passes 
through Dammartin, finely situated on a hill, where Gen- 
eral French had his headquarters at one time. We then 
follow along a smooth road passing through several pic- 
turesque villages to the beautiful forest of Ermenon- 
ville. In Dumas "Three Musketeers," he speaks of his 
heroes riding from Dammartin to Ermenonville in ten 
minutes. Perhaps horses went faster in those heroic 
days, for it takes us fully twenty minutes in a Ford. On 
strategic points everywhere are barbed wire entangle- 
ments and here and there are cleverly constructed reserve 
trenches. The French are taking no chances and if the 
Germans ever break through they will not find it easy 
going. There has been no hunting allowed since the war 
started and the game is very tame. Fat pheasants and 
partridges scurry across the road, occasionally we see a 
hare or a herd of deer and the lake at Ermenonville is 

Life in the Ambulance. 


dotted with wild ducks. The ancient village of Yerberie 
is passed through on the way. Here the English king 
Ethelwolf was married to Judith over a thousand years 
ago. Shortly afterwards, where the railway crosses the 
road, sentries stop the cars and our papers are care- 
fully examined before we are allowed to proceed. The 
forest of Compiegne is magnificent and it is not strange 
that it was a favorite resort of the French royalty. The 
handsome town of Compiegne seems very peaceful con- 
sidering it is seven miles or so from the trenches. Some 
of the residences are closed but most of the stores are 
open, people were sitting on the sidewalk cafes and car- 
riages were driving through the streets. The large 
chateau of Louis XV, where Napoleon met his bride 
Marie Louise, is now used as a receiving hospital, and 
thither we repair for our allotment of wounded. 

One day a Taube dropped a bomb on the courtyard 
about twenty minutes before our arrival, and a large 
hole occupied the place where we usually stationed our 
cars. The bomb broke most of the windows of the pal- 
ace, peppered the walls and wounded a few hospital at- 
tendants. The statues in the hallways of the chateau 
are padded with straw and boxed up as a protection, but 
if a bomb should make a square hit, it didn't seem as if 
such measures would be of much avail. Usually there is 
some waiting for the wounded to arrive, so we have time 
to see something of the park with its splendid vistas, the 
handsome Hotel de Ville and the statue of Joan of Arc. 
It was here that Joan was captured. How much of the 
spirit of that heroic maid is breathed in France today ! 

A visit to Dr. Carrel's hospital is a rare treat. The 
hospital is established in a fine hotel and it is an ideal in- 
stitution, although an occasional shell which drops in 
the garden makes the proximity to the trenches not an 
unmixed blessing. Dr. Carrel was conducting his re- 
searches on the treatment of wounds which later became 
knowm as the "Carrel-Dakin method," and is a notable 
achievement in war surgery. 

42 With the American Ambulance in Fra 

The sound of the cannon is very loud at Compiegne 
and other evidences of the proximity of the enemy are 
the destroyed bridge over the Oise, and several residences 
in the town utterly ruined by shell fire. 

When the wounded come in and our quota is received 
we hurry back to Juilly. We wrap the blesses well in 
blankets and have hot coffee in thermos bottles for use en 
route. Where the road is rough, care is taken to jolt the 
wounded as little as possible. On arriving at the am- 
bulance the wounded are undressed. They are nearly 
always very dirty and very tired. Their uniforms are 
caked with dirt and blood. They are given a hot bath if 
they are able to have it. Joly, the Major Do mo of the 
receiving room, is quite a character. As soon as a 
wounded man is turned over to him he seats him on a 
slat arrangement which lies across the tub. Then with a 
bottle of liquid soap and a sponge he goes at his job with 
zest. First a thorough shampoo, Joly keeping up a run- 
ning fire of conversation, and if the soap runs down the 
victim's face and into his eyes and mouth, Joly doesn't 
mind it a bit but follows up with liberal douches of hot 
water. The poilu seems to enjoy it all as much as Joly. 
A soldier, badly wounded or with fracture of the leg, is 
carefully bathed on a bed, and is not subject to Joly's 
ministrations. All the wounded are X-rayed unless it is 
very evident that the wound is merely a flesh wound. 
Cases requiring immediate operation are attended to at 
once. Sometimes the electric light system breaks down at 
the critical moment and acetylene lamps are ready for 
emergencies. The poor fellows are put to bed and given 
a meal and the inevitable cigarette. They then sleep and 
sleep. Many of them have not been in a bed for months. 
They usually sleep all night, all the next day, waking up 
only for meals, the next night and part of the next day. 
Quite often they have bad dreams and nightmares and 
cry out in their sleep as they dream of an attack. 

The Surrounding Country. 




On the road to Paris, about a mile and a half away, is 
the village of Nantouillet, which is distinguished by a fine 
old chateau built by Charles de Melun, grand master of 
France under Louis XI. The moat and ivy covered walls 
are still well preserved and the building shows some 
charming architectural features. The present master of 
the Chateau is a prisoner in Germany and his efficient 
wife manages the farm. Before the battle of the Marne 
a squad of Uhlans rode into her courtyard and selected 
the best dog out of a famous kennel of hunting dogs. 
The Germans seemed to have been well informed about 
France even to small details. This reminds me of the 
story of the professor in the college. 

For some time before the war began there had been 
a German on the faculty at Juilly. It was noticed that 
he spent most of his time outside of class work in walks 
and bicycle rides around the country. A few days before 
war was declared he disappeared. On the battlefield of 
the Marne, a few weeks later, his dead body was found 
clad in a German officer's uniform. In his pockets were 
well-drawn maps of the surrounding country, showing 
every road, hill, wood and stream of military value. 

A few miles away is the pleasing chateau of St. Thi- 
bault on a large estate. The charming and cultivated 
family were fond of Americans and entertained us during 
the summer months. 

The neighboring village of Thieux is notable for its at- 
tractive little church which was visited, according to the 
records, by Joan of Arc on August 13, 1429. 

The Seine et Marne is one of the most fertile parts of 
France. The country is mostly flat, with low lying hills, 
clumps of woods, meadows and fields. There is no waste 
land. Toward the east are great stretches of wheat 
fields. A year ago these fields were red with blood, but 

44 With the American Ambulance in Fran 

nature rapidly effaces the signs of war and wheat is now 
waving over the fields destined to rank in history with 
Chalons and Tours. 

Perched on a hill and a land mark from our hospital 
windows is the town of Montge. Some British troops 
came through here in the retreat from Mons and blew 
up two houses in order to barricade the street, but the 
Germans came along on the other side of the hill. Now 
there is an artillery force stationed here. On our first 
visit the woods on the hill were full of soldiers digging 
trenches and we saw two of the famous "seventy-fives." 
They were painted over to resemble leaves, also a wire 
netting was spread over them which can be covered with 
branches and conceal the cannon from hostile aviators. 

Along the road to Meaux is the newly-made cemetery 
where 317 soldiers are buried, among them Peguy, the 
young poet whom France mourns. These men were 
killed the night before the 6th of September, 1914, when 
Joffre gave his famous order that they should retreat 
no further, and that they should die in their tracks rather 
than give way. A body of troops was bivouacking in the 
field and a German battery on the hill of Monthyon got 
their range and landed several shell in their midst. The 
graves are decorated with metallic wreaths, and among 
them is one from the American Ambulance. Nearby is 
a plot where Germans are buried. It is fenced off with 
barbed wire and a black post with a board and number 
marks the spot. How magnanimous of the French to 
protect and care for the graves of the ruthless invaders 
of their country ! 

Meaux is the nearest large town to us and is probably 
the largest town nearest to Paris that the Germans 
reached in 1914. A good part of the population fled on 
the approach of the enemy. Only German patrols en- 
tered the town. The main bodies of troops never had a 
chance as they were engaged in heavy fighting on the out- 
skirts by the French. 

Dr. Gros of the American Ambulance tells a vivid story 

46 With the American Ambulance in France. 

which shows what the French soldier endured in these 
glorious days of the Marne. With other Americans from 
Paris, Dr. Gros went out to the battlefield to bring in the 
wounded. They arrived at Meaux at midnight and found 
the town in darkness. There was not a light to be seen or 
a sound to be heard except the wailings of cats, wander- 
ing around the streets. They called and shouted and at 
last were able to arouse an official. "Where are the 
wounded?" they asked. "I will show you," replied the 
official. They were led with the aid of a lamp to a school 
building which looked dark and deserted. Pushing open 
the door they found the building crowded with wounded, 
over five hundred. They were lying on the hard floor. 
Some were dead, others dying, all were asleep. Nine 
days of forced marching and fighting without adequate 
sleep or food had produced such a state of exhaustion 
that they wanted only to be left alone. The prospect of 
surgical care, hospital, food and drink aroused no re- 
sponse. The worst cases were selected first, such as 
compound fractures and those wounded in the chest or 
abdomen. They made little or no complaint when they 
were picked up. Only when their wounds, stuck to the 
floor, were torn open, did they utter a sound. 

Further along up the beautiful Marne valley, about an 
hour's ride from Meaux, lies the attractive town of Cha- 
teau Thierry, of about 7,000 inhabitants. Here La Fon- 
taine, the fable writer, was born. The castle that gives 
the town its name is a 1200-year old ruin, picturesquely 
situated on the high bank of the Marne. 

German troops crossed the river here in their great 
advance but were driven back again after the battle of 
the Marne, blowing up the bridge as they retreated, and 
British and French troops made the crossing on pon- 
toons. The town suffered somewhat from shell fire and 
numerous shell holes are to be seen as grim reminders 
of the war. Because Chateau Thierry is located deep in 
the valley the sound of the guns at the front is not heard 
and there is little to make one realize that war is o-oing- on. 

The Wounded front the Battle of Champagne. 47 

In company with some French officers I visited the 
hospitals and lunched at the officers' mess. Questions 
about America and the American ambulance from a 
score of officers I answered as best I could and they 
were too polite to notice my mistakes in the French lan- 
guage. The Medecin-Chef of the hospitals was a very 
nervous man, drafted from civil life and breaking under 
the strain of his office. When I said "merci" in refusing 
a dish offered me, he thundered at me "Merci oui ou 
merci non?" which amused everybody. 

In a large enclosure in the town were a number of 
freshly captured, unwounded German prisoners. The 
officers were very sour and surly-looking. The privates 
were youths with closely cropped heads and seemed not 
at all sorry to be prisoners. They were kindly treated 
by the French and received the same food as the French 



During the fall of 1915 there were rumors of a great 
offensive to be made somewhere along the line. Al- 
though we were within sound of the guns we knew little 
of what was going on and often read in New York pa- 
pers of events that was news to us, days old. Early in 
September we received orders to evacuate all of our 
blesses who were able to go. Then there was a great 
scurry, filling out the military papers, getting out the 
equipment and bidding farewell to the poilus who had 
been so long with us and to whom we had grown so at- 
tached. We waited expectantly every day for news of 
a great battle until on September 26th the official com- 
muniques announced that, preceded by a heavy bom- 
bardment, the French had advanced in the Champagne 


With the American Ambulance in France. 

region and had taken many prisoners and trenches. We 
were prepared to receive a load of wounded at any time. 

September 29th we were notified by telegram that a 
trainload of wounded would arrive at five o'clock the next 
morning, and we were ready when the ambulances began 
to arrive from the station of St. Mard in rapid succession, 
each one with three wounded. One man died at the sta- 
tion before he could be taken off the train. The long 
corridor was filled with wounded, wrapped in blankets 
lying on stretchers, and as rapidly as possible the blesses 
were carried up to the wards, the worst cases first. In 
less than three hours from the arrival of the first pa- 
tient the last of the 128 was put to bed. Extra cars and 
drivers had been sent out from Neuilly else we never 
could have handled the task so rapidly. 

A large man lay in the corridor, his head so swathed 
in bandages that all of his face that could be seen was 
a nose, a pair of large moustaches and a pair of keen 
gray eyes. I picked up the head end of the stretcher 
and our Belgian radiographer, Deschamps, the foot end 
and we carried him up two flights of stairs. He grew 
heavier and heavier until, as we reached the bed our 
aching arms had some difficulty in raising the stretcher 
sufficiently to make the transfer to the bed. As we were 
struggling with our task we were startled to hear a voice 
roar at us out of the maze of bandages and blankets, 
"Brace up there ! Brace up." Our patient turned out 
to be a colonel who spoke perfect English, a magnificent 
specimen, 6 feet 4 and 245 pounds weight. As soon as 
we learned his rank we hurried and prepared a private 
room for him. 

Every patient was then examined and dressed. Some 
were in desperate condition and had to be operated on 
at once. There were some terrible wounds, especially 
the jaw cases. It does not seem possible that a man could 
be alive with such wounds. One boy was shot through 
the shoulder at close range, then the ball tore open his 
neck and carried away a good part of the lower jaw. 

50 With the American Ambulance in France. 

floor of the mouth and tongue. He was a nervous little 
chap and suffered greatly. He was fed by a tube intro- 
duced into his nose, but did not look as if he could sur- 

Another boy was shot through the face sideways, the 
piece of shell tearing away a large part of the lower jaw 
and half his tongue. A fringe of lower lip hung down 
almost to his chest. He cannot speak, so writes notes 
asking for something to drink and whether he will ever 
be able to speak again. He is wonderfully brave and 
patient and after having been fed a few times he took 
his tube, funnel and pitcher of milk and insisted on feed- 
ing himself. 

One fine young fellow has his leg shattered and gas 
gangrene has set in. It is too late to save him. His 
mother arrives from Paris. He sees her entering the 
door, cries out "Mama" and holds out his hands to her. 
She rushes to him and folds him in her arms — her only 
son. He expires before long but with a peaceful smile 
on his face. 

We are busy as can be, for as fast as a round of dress- 
ings is completed we must start again, as they are so 
quickly soiled. When we get a chance to think it over, 
anger takes possession of us — rage that boys and young 
men, the flower of the land, should thus be struck down 
and mutilated in defending their country and dear ones 
from the merciless greed of the Kaiser and his cohorts. 

The stench in the ward is beyond description. One of 
our old patients is helping with the dressings, and al- 
though he has been wounded four times and has gone 
back again to the trenches, the smell is too much for 
him and he vomits repeatedly but always returns to 

The saddest cases of all are the blind. Dr. Scarlett 
comes out from Paris to do what he can for them, but 
too often their eyesight has gone beyond hope. It is 
heart-rending to witness their hope when they recover 
from the anaesthetic and believe, now that they have 

The Wounded from the Battle of Champagne. 51 

been attended to by tbe American doctor, they will be 
all right. They get some one to light a cigarette for 
them, laugh and crack jokes. Later on when the con- 
sciousness that they are doomed to everlasting darkness 
comes to them, they are magnificent. Not a whimper, 
a word of sorrow or self-pity passes their lips. They 
meet their fate with the noble fortitude of the race. 

The nurses are working splendidly and are at their 
best now that there is plenty of work. The first night 
was a terrible one, but we managed to get through it 
with a liberal use of morphine. Almost every patient 
is bad enough to require a special nurse in civil practice, 
and for our 52 patients in a ward we have three nurses 
and one auxiliary. There are no trained orderlies, but 
the convalescent soldiers rapidly become apt helpers. If 
war brutalizes soldiers, it certainly does not show itself 
in the attitude of the French soldiers to each other, as 
no one could be more solicitous and tender than are 
these poilus of their fellow comrades. 

And so it goes on. A few die, those who were hope- 
less on their arrival. The village priest is called and 
gives them the last rites. Gradually conditions improve, 
the blesses suffer less and the stench in the wards di- 
minishes. But just as we feel relieved that no more of 
our blesses are going to die, the danger of secondary 
hemorrhages arises. These come on suddenly and with- 
out warning, as the infection reaches and ulcerates an 
artery. One night I was called to the ward hurriedly 
and by the light of a lantern was appalled to see blood 
pouring out of a man's mouth. The poor fellow was 
choking and blood poured all over the bed. There was 
no success in trying to see where the blood came from. 
A shrapnel ball had struck him in the face alongside of 
the nose and traversed the neck and the blood poured out 
of his mouth too fast to sponge it out and see by lan- 
tern light the source of the bleeding. A finger in his 
mouth felt a hole in his hard palate through which the 
blood poured and the finger was used to plug the hole 

52 With the American Ambulance in France. 

until the blood could be cleaned out and the wound 
packed. By this time the blesse was white as a sheet, 
sitting up in bed covered with blood. Two tears rolled 
down his cheeks as he said "Merci," kissed my hand and 
settled back on his pillows. 

This afternoon as I was shaving an Algerian who had 
his upper jaw smashed by a bullet, I heard a splashing 
sound and an old chap came staggering into the salle de 
pansements with blood pouring out from a great hole 
in his face. He started to bleed as he sat up in bed and, 
knowing that I was in the dressing room, he came in 
there after me, leaving a trail of blood behind him. Vig- 
orous packing stopped the hemorrhage for the time be- 
ing but later on it was necessary to tie the external 
carotid artery in his neck. We call this poilu "grand- 
pere," for, although he is only thirty-nine, yet he has 
only a fringe of gray locks around the edge of his bald 
pate. A Chinese bullet fifteen years ago carried away 
a part of his nose and a piece of German shell took away 
most of what was left and a large piece of his upper jaw. 
When he was wounded, grandpere crawled into a shell 
hole and packed his wound full of mud to stop the bleed- 
ing. He is a Breton fisherman and makes long fishing 
voyages to the Canadian banks. He knows two English 
words, "Cod fish" and "Whisky." 

After a varying length of time in the hospital the 
blesses are evacuated. The slightly wounded ones go to 
their depot, where they receive permission to visit their 
families for a few weeks before their return to the 
trenches. Those requiring further treatment are sent to 
convalescent hospitals in Paris or its suburbs. The hope- 
lessly crippled men go before a Board and are reformed, 
that is, the war is over for them. They go home and do 
what they can to make a living. Partially disabled sol- 
diers are placed in the auxiliary service, where they are 
assigned to work in accordance with their capacity as 
drivers, railroad helpers, kitchen assistants, hospital or- 
derlies or workers in ammunition factories. 

Breton peasants who have come to visit their son zvho 
is badly wounded. 

54 With the American Ambulance in France. 

Some of our wounded speak English quite well. A 
bright young fellow from Soissons who had never been 
a hundred miles away from home spoke English and 
was glad of the opportunity to improve his knowledge of 
the language. He had learned English in the college at 
Soissons and the result was a striking improvement over 
the success of an American boy learning French at an 
American college. At our request he wrote out a story 
of his experiences in the war, the first part in French and 
the "most interesting part of the story" in English. 



I was at my home north of Soissons when the war 
broke out. I was nineteen years of age and I did not 
expect at that time that I would be called to the colors. 

The first of September, 1914, French troops retreating 
from Charleroi had just passed through our village when 
cries of terror resounded in the streets, "Les Allemands, 
les Uhlands." We heard in the distance the clatter of 
horses' hoofs and some minutes later the Belgian lanc- 
ers, then the artillery passed at full speed. It was a false 
alarm. The "Bodies" were our friends, the Belgians. 

After this my mother, who did not want me to remain 
in the village during the invasion, made preparations for 
my departure. In the evening as we learned from the 
dragoons, the last troops in retreat, that the Germans 
were only 12 kilometers away, I bade my parents fare- 
well and started on foot for Paris. All night lonsr I 
walked. It was a terrible night for me. Behind me the 
cannon thundered over our poor villages and the glare of 
flaming homes, burned by the enemy, added a note of 
horror to this first vision of war. I trudged all night 
long with death in my soul, 43 kilometres, thinking of 

Robert's Story. 


my family in the hands of the enemy. I began to un- 
derstand what war was. A year later I had to understand 
it more. 

I was ordered to report to a regiment at Paris, and 
then was sent to a camp for instruction. Sickness delayed 
my departure for the front so that it was not until June 
that I joined my comrades in the trenches of the Aisne. 
Our regiment held a secteur violently bombarded day and 
night, only a few kilometres from my home town. 

By the middle of August we were ordered to the 
Champagne region to prepare for the approaching of- 
fensive. There we dug by night new trenches and "boy- 
aux." Our lines, 800 meters distant from the enemy, 
were moved up to 400 and even 300 metres. During the 
day we dug our old "boyaux" deeper. 

On September 20th we learned the decision of the 
Commander in Chief. We were going to take the offen- 
sive in a few days. When our turn came for guard duty 
in the first line we sewed the traditional square of white 
cloth on our knapsacks, which would denote our presence 
to our artillery and prevent our being shot by our own 

The twenty-second of September at five o'clock in the 
morning we took our place in the first line. Two sec- 
tions of my company were on guard and the two others 
were at rest in the dug-outs. As for myself I fell asleep 
at once in a dug-out as I was very tired. Suddenly about 
seven o'clock an infernal noise awoke me all of a sudden. 
The "seventy-fives" near us fired all at once and in about 
an hour all of our '"seventy-fives" were engaged. The 
Bodies replied. The "seventy-sevens," "one hundred and 
fives" and "one hundred and fifties" were rained on our 
batteries but without effect. 

A sergeant entered our dug-out all excited, "Here is 
the order," he said. "The offensive has started, the bom- 
bardment will last three or four days. The seventy-fives 
will fire today, tomorrow the heavy cannon and on the 
last day all the artillery will fire at the same time. At 

56 With the American Ambulance in France. 

the attack you will be the first to go." His words are 
received without a murmur. We then crack jokes as the 
Boche shells continue to fall above us causing some 
caving in of the ceilings of our dug-outs. At last towards 
midday the Boche quit firing. As for us, our bombard- 
ment became more and more intense. 

The third day of the bombardment must have been a 
terrible one for the enemy. Shells of all sizes threw up 
into the air for hundreds of feet pieces of rocks, trees 
and material of various kinds. The explosions of our 
"75" and "155" and of our aerial torpedoes on the 
enemy's first lines confused our brains and upset our 

The twenty-fourth of September we learned that on 
the next day at .nine fifteen exactly our company would 
be the first to attack and take the first line of the enemy's 
trenches. The news hardly surprised us as we expected 
it. Some of us were chosen as "trench cleaners" or 
"zigouilleurs" and received a strong knife and a Brown- 
ing revolver. The "trench cleaner's" duty is during an 
attack to kill all the enemy hidden in the dug-outs who 
would be able to shoot us in the back. 

During the night we prepared our sacks, containing 
three days of reserve rations and saw to our square of 
white cloth which would guide our artillery. 

Here I speak English for the most interesting part of 
the story. 

Twenty-fifth of September. — It is eight o'clock in the 
morning. We are ready. With our sack we have also 
two musettes ; one for grenades and cartridges, and the 
other for chocolate and bread. To our belts are hung a 
set of small tools and a "pochette", holding the masque 
and pad designed to ward off the asphyxiating gases. 
Last, we each have two "bidons" of a capacity of one 
litre apiece. 

For myself I also carry a board two meters long which 
I am to lay across the foremost enemy trench to allow 
the passage of my comrades. In the right hand, my rifle. 

Robert's Story. 


It rains, and this depresses us a little ; but we are ac- 
customed by former duties to all the caprices of the 
weather and rain is not going to hinder our deter- 

Our lieutenant calls the section together. He tells us 
that we shall be the first to move ; we are to be the regi- 
ment's first wave of assault. We are told to leap over 
the parapet at fifteen minutes past nine and to then 
march straight before us in the direction of Sommepy- 
Youziers, in short, towards the north. "I know," says 
our lieutenant, "that there is not one of you who will 
show any sign of weakness." Our glance suffices to 
convince him that, every one, we are proud to attack first, 
and that, among us, none shall recoil. "Tomorrow morn- 
ing," continues our lieutenant, "we shall have forced the 
lines of the enemy. We shall be at Sommepy. It will 
be Sunday and we shall attend high mass which will be 
celebrated by soldier priests in the ruins of the church." 
Saluting, we return to our arms. 

The rain falls, drizzling yet heavy. The bombardment 
becomes more and more violent, the bursting of our ter- 
rible 75s falling from far before us, often into our own 
trenches, bringing danger to us from our own com- 
rades. We feel a great enthusiasm course through us 
more and more ; among us there is not one who glances 
back with regret upon other days in this hour of death. 
Each gazes, on the contrary, frankly towards that future 
which looms up as red as the blood which is soon going 
to dye that "plateau." Everyone thinks "our life would 
have been worth something for would we not have aided 
in saving our France from danger?" We smoke a pipe ; we 
speak of the terrible moments that we are about to live 
and which we foresee as less terrible than the reality. 

At last ! nine o'clock has come. The section files into 
the "parallele," a trench with steps dug during the night 
before our first line to aid the movements of the appointed 

"Du courage, mes enfants," cries our lieutenant; "re- 


With the American Ambulance in France. 

gret nothing; think of that future which is dawning so 
beautifully for France, that future which will be your 
glory and your recompense. Not one of you will retreat. 
The moment has come for us to drive the invader from 
our land and to restore those innumerable ruined places 
which you will see on your way. Remember that you are 
soldiers of the glorious Thirty-fifth Infantry Regiment of 

The lieutenant lights his pipe ; we put bayonet to rifle, 
musette to back and adjust our helmets. 

Five minutes past nine * * * the artillery is increasing 
its range. The attack is going to begin. How very long 
seem these moments. 

Ten minutes past nine * * * Ready, mes enfants, to the 
escaliers ! W e embrace ; fathers gaze for a last moment 
upon photographs of wives and children, confide to them 
their last thoughts as they press kisses upon them. * * * 
Unforgetable minutes, of which still the memory horrifies 
yet fascinates me. Once more I see a fine, heavy-bearded 
comrade of the "Bresse" embracing his sergeant as 
bearded as himself while he mutters, "Au revoir, et non 
adieu." This scene is chiselled into my memory. 

Fifteen miutes past nine ! Our lieutenant climbs the 
parapet of the trench and, raising his sword: "En avant 
mes enfants, and good luck!" 

From this moment, cruel minutes passed through my 
mind for not having full consciousness of the reality, I 
lived as in a dream, asking myself always if in this hour 
men were surely about to spill each other's blood. Here 
is best what I remember : 

My comrades and I marched rapidly toward the Boche 
trenches, head lowered and throwing the body forward 
at each whistling of an obus. Now and again I raised 
my head, glanced around me quickly and then shrugged 
down into my shoulders. 

Strangely, I had no fear, yet I knew that soon the 
figure of Death would be stalking among us. Always it 
rained, and this rain formed a mist through which the 

Robert's Story. 


aeroplanes were indistinguishable. "That's going- to make 
it bad for the artillery," thought I. On each side I saw 
our lines advancing, staggering, winding, tottering and 
again advancing. So, we stumbled forward for a hun- 
dred meters amongst a clattering riot of bursting obus 
of every caliber. Yet none near me had been wounded. 
Helas ! How trivial was this vision to that which we 
were to later see. 

Suddenly (I found myself among the first), I heard 
cries, "Forward, faster, run." Faster we ran, so that it 
was necessary to wait for one or two. The line must be 
straight to penetrate the first Boche trench. 

Then indeed broke a hailstorm of iron. I saw my com- 
rades coming up to me with heads lowered, I heard the 
spiteful tac-tac of the German machine guns (mitrail- 
leuses ) and, at the end of a few seconds, I remarked that 
we had before us at least ten mitrailleuses. I ran back 
quickly, my lieutenant was down, mortally stricken, 
among many other soldiers. Close to me another threw 
out his arms, wheeled around and fell. From all about 
me came cries. I was conscious of the reality. Before 
my eyes was unfolding one of the most terrible scenes 
of modern warfare. 

All this last occurred in the space of two or three min- 
utes. Thicker now the bullets rained around us. Com- 
rades sank down beside me uttering always guttural 

The obus were beginning to burst above our heads. 
Always I advanced. A great hatred of the Bodies surged 
through me and a fire of blind rage flashed into my being. 
Our first wave was fast becoming less dense. Many 
already would never answer again to the call, but I saw 
others coming up behind us and that gave me renewed 

I was losing breath ; the board which I was holding in 
the left hand prevented me from firing. I slackened my 
pace. Two comrades rejoined me ; one had already 
fought a long campaign, the other, like myself, was in 

60 With the American Ambulance in France. 

the first attack, and showed signs of fear, I thought. The 
first ran doggedly forward, superb, thinking of nothing. 
I had never seen the Bodies in their first line of trenches ; 
he had seen many. Coming up to me, he cried, "Have 
no fear, 'Mon petit gars,' and follow me ; 'ca ira' !" 

The second arrived and closed up with him ; I did the 
same. There was no more sound of the mitrailleuses, 
so that I cried : "All goes well !" At that same moment, 
I felt a violent blow in the head, I wheeled and stag- 
gered, * * * I was blind ; a feeling of whirling fire spun 
through my brain * * * I was blind ! 

I thought myself lost and let my rifle fall. Then whis- 
pering a last adieu to my poor mother, already widowed 
by the war ; a faint prayer to the Virgin, I fell. 

How long did I lie there knowing nothing? I can- 
not tell. But the struggle must have raged tremendously 
around me. When at last I came to myself, I found my- 
self mixed in a pile of other wounded lying at the bot- 
tom of a deep hole that had been made by a bursting 

I could see nothing, absolutely nothing, and I was 
bleeding profusely from the nose, mouth and forehead. 
There was hardly any pain. Continually, the obus burst 
around us. The German mitrailleuses never ceased their 
infernal chattering ; ours remained mute ; our mitrailleurs 
being nearly all killed or wounded. 

About the hole to which I had been carried, the Cor- 
poral Brossire had rallied a few men to preserve us, if 
possible, from massacre at the hands of the enemy, in 
case they reached us. I remember that he placed upon 
me the dead body of a corporal as a protection from pro- 

Many times the Bodies tried to reach us, but they 
were always repulsed, grace to the courage of this Cor- 
poral Brossire who could always, in a tragic moment, 
find those words which put added courage into the hearts 
of his men. Wounded in the skull, he continued to com- 
mand and to scorch with a glance those who spoke of 

Robert's Story. 


retreat or surrender. "We will die here if we must," 
said he, "but never will I give up these wounded com- 

The situation becomes more and more critical. After 
two hours of incessant and unequal fighting, the corporal 
and his men resign themselves to that beckoning figure of 
Death which has for so long been reaching toward us. 
Thev fire no more : their arms, grimed with mud, refuse 
to answer to the trigger. The Bodies, in their turn ad- 
vance in quick rushes ; now, they have only thirty meters 
between themselves and us. "Don't stir," cries Brossire ; 
"act as if dead, every one of you ; they will pass * * * 
attention, here they are." 

We wait, two, three, four seconds during which I can 
hear the pounding of my heart. What is happening ? Sud- 
denly one of our mitrailleuses makes itself heard behind 
us. It is at its maximum of speed and the bullets whistle 
above us, rushing to sow death among that advancing 

A cry from the corporal, "Saved, mes enfants, it is 
Meyer; he is working for us." The brave Meyer, a ser- 
geant mitrailleur, alone by his piece has in a few mo- 
ments turned our terrible enemy. 

Toward three o'clock I was found by a soldier who 
was carrying to the rear his wounded adjutant and who 
had found me in his path. Seeing me thus blind, he had 
offered to lead me to the rear before starting again for 
the front. 

Once in our trenches, I was confided, with other 
wounded, to a party of Boche prisoners, who, under 
careful guard, carried us upon their back through the 
"boyaux" up to the first "Poste de Secours." Among 
these was a Bavarian who spoke French as well as I 
and who had not the grace to admit a defeat which now 
showed itself so certain, and who even dared to criticise 
our mode of attack, stating that we should be forever 
hated and despised by neutral nations when they would 
learn how terrible had been our bombardment. 

62 With the American Ambulance in France. 

I reached the ambulance very tired, twice I had fainted 
on the way and felt capable of nothing more. The mor- 
row, I was in Chalons, where I was operated in the 
right eye, and later sent to the Ambulance at Juilly, 
where, at the hands of gentle American women, I re- 
ceived the tenderest care. On the 14th of October I 
was operated on and after a long treatment with many 
irrigations, I feel well now. 

Here I end my story, in the course of which I have 
wished to forget no detail nor to imagine anything. 

It will be a day of dullness for me when I will leave 
you and those ancient walls of Juilly, inside of which 
during my unhappiness, I found such beautiful days. 



The change from being a staff surgeon to Medecin- 
Chef had its advantages and drawbacks. Along with the 
authority suddenly imposed on one and the opportunity 
of running things as one thought best, this position 
brought with it responsibilities and the unenviable posi- 
tion of having everything disagreeable that arose put "up 
to the Medecin-Chef." The greatest drawback to the 
position is that one is deprived of the intimate contact 
with the poilus. 

In the system of hospital management one man. the 
Medecin-Chef, is given full authority and made respon- 
sible for each and every department. This system has its 
advantage as the hospital is conducted by a medical mar 
and the friction that often arises in civil hospitals be- 
tween the medical staff and the office, is eliminated. At 
the same time a heavy task is imposed on the Medecin- 
Chef. He is responsible to the government for the wel- 
fare of the wounded entrusted to his care, must super- 

The Trials of a Medecin-Chef. 


intend the treatment and see that the military papers are 
properly filled out. Then there are the countless de- 
tails of the surgical department, viz., the keeping up of 
supplies and equipment, the discipline of the hospital, the 
engaging of nurses, etc. 

The housekeeping department comprises the super- 
vision of the kitchen, store room, laundry, and the work 
of the house cleaners. Some of our food we buy in Paris 
and bring out in a camion. The meat and bread are 
delivered from the town of Dammartin, milk is pur- 
chased from a country dairyman, and butter, eggs, fresh 
vegetables and cheese we buy in the Saturday market at 
Meaux. Complications are constantly arising. The 
camion breaks down just as it is needed to haul supplies. 
The milk delivered is found to be sour and cannot be 
used. The turkeys were delivered at the hospital un- 
plucked and the kitchen staff are sore because they have 
to pluck them. The poilus complain that the meat was 
not properly cooked and upon interviewing the cook he 
blames the coal, which at $20 a ton contains a goodly 
amount of dirt and rock. Some of the nurses refuse to 
eat rabbit and kid after they discover what they are. 
Two of the cook's assistants have a fight and the row 
has to be straightened out. Then the pump breaks down 
unexpectedly and for two days all the water has to be 
carried upstairs in buckets. A fire breaks out in the 
laundry, burns up a lot of the wash and a laundress has 
a hysterical fit. 

Splints and fracture boards are needed and the village 
carpenter and blacksmith must have the appliances ex- 
plained to them. A stove in the theatre smokes and it 
is found that the smoke stack has two elbows and doesn't 
draw properly. Xo stove piping is to be had ready made 
and it will take two weeks to have it made in Paris. 
Milk is being spilled on the stairways as it is being car- 
ried to the wards. By close watch two culprits are 
caught and sufficiently admonished. Telephone com- 
munication is suddenly cut off without any explanation 

64 With the American Ambulance in France. 

and remains cut off in spite of a telegram of protest. 
We have gotten so used to having our electric lights go 
out that we are prepared for it and have a plentiful 
supply of candles and lanterns. 

After such a day with perhaps half a dozen operations, 
the Medecin-Chef's labors are not over. There are the 
bills and vouchers to look over, as the Medecin-Chef 
has to approve of the expenditure of every franc. 

The wounded nearly always arrive at night, usually 
several hours later than the time announced. At first 
we used to wait up for them but found it was a better 
plan to rest and be called by the night orderlies when 
the first ambulance arrived. The Medecin-Chef then had 
to superintend the job, see that the blesses are properly 
handled, undressed and bathed, look over their injuries, 
assign them to the different wards and decide whether 
immediate operations are necessary. 

A trip to Paris was often a mad rush to get things 
attended to. A day in Paris might pass like this : An 
effort to arrange that some of our heavier supplies would 
go out by train encountered at once "red-tape" and un- 
certainty of train service. Two hours were spent trying 
to get a dozen beds. After going a long way to a whole- 
sale place and choosing the bed we wanted, found that 
it was only a sample. They said they couldn't make any 
more because their workers were mobilized and it is diffi- 
cult to get iron. The Germans hold most of the iron 
mines. Then went miles across Paris suburbs to order 
some iron tables and by chance landed on a bed manu- 
factory. It was a disreputable looking place but the 
proprietor agreed to make beds at thirty francs each. 
Then to the instrument maker to get the surgical knives 
which had been left there to be sharpened and found 
that they had been sent by mistake to Ris-Orangis. No 
screws for Lane plates to be had but they could be made 
by hand for a franc apiece and it would take a week to 
make six. The proprietor explained that they had been 
in the habit of getting such things from Germany. This 

The Trials of a Mcdccin-Chcf. 


is a sample of how difficult it is to get things. I have to 
hurry to a meeting of the Juilly Committee at the Ameri- 
can Ambulance at Neuilly. Mr. Robert Bacon is there 
and a talk with him inspires me to greater effort. 

Arriving back at Juilly after dark my troubles were not 
over for the day. Some convalescents were to be evacu- 
ated and three of them were intoxicated. We had re- 
markably little trouble with the soldiers drinking. Con- 
sidering the hardships and sufferings they had been 
through, an occasional lapse would not have been strange, 
and the absence of drinking showed the fine discipline in 
the French army. 

This offense of being intoxicated had then to be thor- 
oughly investigated. The next morning the three de- 
linquents, looking very sheepish, are called into my office 
and admonished. They all confess their fault, were sorry 
and were pardoned. It appeared that they got the liquor 
in a little village a mile away. We went to the village 
and accused the woman in charge of the wineshop of 
selling liquor to the soldiers. She denied it but when con- 
fronted with one of the soldiers then tried to put it off 
on her fifteen-year-old daughter. The mayor was then 
hunted up but as he was absent, we called on the acting 
mayor. He was a little peasant disturbed at his noon- 
da}' meal of a savory ragout and salad. In reply to our 
complaint, he agreed that it was a grave offense and 
would act as we wanted. What did we want him to do? 
Close the "bistro" for eight days. All right, he would 
do so if we would write out a complaint and an order 
of closure. So back to the hospital we went and wrote 
out the two papers, and then back to the mayor's. "All 
right, I will attend to it tomorrow as today is Sunday 
and perhaps there will be customers there." "So much 
the better," he was told, "and it must be attended to at 
once." But then he wasn't dressed. No matter, we would 
be glad to wait and drive him over in our auto. So at 
last it was attended to. The mayor dressed, went along 
with us, gave the orders forbidding any sales for eight 

66 With the American Ambulance in France. 

days. The incident is closed but had a salutary effect on 
all concerned. 

France has ever been famous for her good cooking 
and the stress of war has not broken down this admirable 
characteristic. To a Frenchman meal time is an institu- 
tion to be enjoyed with a zest and a touch of the artistic. 
The soldiers are well fed and, except in time of heavy 
action, have plenty of well-cooked food. Some of the 
4000 hospitals used for wounded soldiers at times have 
difficulty in providing certain food for the wounded. 
Chickens and butter are sometimes difficult to obtain or 
are beyond the reach of the hospital's finances, but bread, 
eggs, milk, vegetables and meat, in moderate quantities, 
are usually available. 

The prices of food, transposed from kilograms and 
francs into pounds and cents, that we paid in 1915-16 
were : 

Beef and mutton, 28 cents a pound. 
Chickens, about $1.35 each. 
Rabbits, 75 cents apiece. 
Bread, from 3 to 4 cents a pound. 
Butter, 35 cents a pound. 
Eggs, 35 cents a dozen. 
Potatoes, 2 cents a pound. 
Beet sugar, 10 cents a pound. 

Later the price went to 24 cents and sugar was difficult 
to obtain in large quantities. 
Coffee, 38 cents a pound. 
Milk, 5 cents a quart. 
Rice, 8 cents a pound. 

The total daily cost of feeding each individual in the 
hospital, patients and staff, was 56 cents a day. 

Holidays and Festivals. 




On Thanksgiving- Day we were as American as could 
be and the staff celebrated the clay by having roast turkey 
stuffed with chestnuts and a huge pumpkin pie. As 
Thanksgiving day did not mean anything to the poilus 
we concentrated our efforts in preparing Christmas and 
New Year's entertainments for them. 

The French winter is nothing to be proud of. The first 
week in December it was so cold that some of the sol- 
diers in the trenches had their feet frozen. By the middle 
of December it was too warm for an overcoat. By Christ- 
mas time it was freezing again. There was little snow, 
but it rained nearly every day. It grew dark at 3 :30 in 
the afternoon and our lighting bills increased consider- 
ably. Things are rather quiet in the bad weather, and 
apparently the two lines of trenches settled down for the 
winter, each one with the feeling that the other is un- 
able to break through their line. 

The Christmas celebration was a great success. The 
wards were decorated with strings of colored paper run- 
ning from the walls to the electric lights, the walls were 
decorated with wreaths of ivy and bunches of holly and 
mistletoe were hung in the windows. The wooden 
frameworks for suspending broken limbs were festooned 
with ivy. Altogether the effect was very pretty. 

On Christmas eve the boys from the college sang for 
the blesses. Some of them had very sweet voices. They 
had a small but heavy organ which they carried from one 
ward to another and one of the professors played the ac- 
companiments, making a goodly number of discords. 
Nevertheless, the soldiers enjoyed the music hugely. 

On Christmas morning there was much handshaking 
and exchange of "Bonne Noel." In every ward there 
was a tree decorated with imitation snow, tinsel and 
candles. Every soldier received a bag containing simple 

68 With the American Ambulance in France. 

gifts as writing pads, socks, pipes, candy, etc. A huge 
Ambulance driver made a realistic Santa Claus and 
amused the blesses as he distributed the presents. 

Our wounded colonel made a gracious speech, which 
one of the staff took down in shorthand. Of course it 
suffers from being translated, but is worth recording. 

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the American Ambulance of 
Juilly : 

"In the name of my wounded comrades and in my 
own name, I beg to thank you for your delicate thought in 
giving to us the illusion of our absent family by this 
Christmas celebration. I desire also to express to you 
our appreciation of the devotion and science of the doc- 
tors and the professional skill and devoted care of the 
nurses who have carried to the bedside of the wounded the 
charm of their grace and their smiles. Thus have you 
lightened our sufferings and saved most of us, myself 
among them. I certainly represent all the wounded when 
I say that we shall never forget the devoted care which 
you have given us. I ask you to applaud 'tin triple ban' 
in honor of the Ambulance." (Here the assembly fol- 
lowed the Colonel's suggestion and clapped hands in the 
French fashion. ) 

"Christmas recalls to us very sweet memories. As 
children we placed our slippers in the chimney place and 
prayed to the Christ child or to St. Nicholas to bring 
us the toys that we wanted. The next morning, with our 
happy parents, we had the joy of finding the gifts that we 
longed for. Later on in life, we have enjoyed the cus- 
tomary midnight gaiety, and Christmas has always been 
the fete day for the children and family. 

"We are very appreciative that the staff of the ambu- 
lance has created such a family atmosphere for our 
Christmas day. 

"As these days go by we must remember that our task 
is not yet achieved and that we should by our patience 
and will hasten our recovery so that those of us who can. 
and that will be most of us, shall engage again in the 

Holidays and Festivals. 


unfinished combat. On this question, you must believe, 
no matter what you hear, that victory is certain and that 
in the months to come we shall drive back the Bodies. 
W e shall impose the terms of peace, a victorious peace 
and prevent them from again committing their crimes. 
You can be certain of the future that nous les aurons." 

The dinner was extra good with turkey and cranberry 
sauce in plenty. There was music by local talent and by 
some professionals who came out from Paris. A cinema 
rented for the occasion gave some excellent moving pic- 
tures and there were games for the convalescents, as 
bean bags and ninepins. Fortunately there were no very 
sick patients, so all could enjoy themselves. 

On Christmas morning I was called into my old ward 
and presented with a handsome smoking set. At the 
same time one of the blesses read in a loud voice the 
following speech. "Je viens an nom de mes camarades 
remercier Madame et Monsieur le Docteur Judd et ses 
distingues collaborateurs des soins devoues dont vous 
nous entourez. Mr. le docteur vous avez quitte vos 
blesses avec regret. Vous, qui les soignez avec la sollici- 
tude d'une mere: vous, qui veniez pendant certains units 
apporter votre science a plusieurs d'entre nous, vous 
etiez un pere pour tons. Eleve au grade de medecin-chef, 
1'inquietude de ne plus recevoir vos soins nous attriste. 
Heureusement votre successeur se montre d'un devoue- 
ment a toute epreuve et tons nous remercions et nous 
nous ecrions ensemble. 
"Vive la France ! 
'A^ive lWmerique." 

At the same time they presented L. with a beautiful 
bouquet of roses. 

Xew Year's day is highly esteemed by the soldiers, and 
we had the same sort of a celebration without the trees. 
The presence of 600 soldiers just back from the trenches 
made quite a little excitement in the village. 

On Toussaints day the soldiers' graves in the little vil- 
lage cemetery were decorated. We made up a procession, 

Holidays and Festivals. 


doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and convalescents and 
marched to the cemetery, the nurses carrying- wreaths. 
The French show a marked reverence for the dead. The 
soldiers' graves are close together, but each one is marked 
with a little white cross giving the soldier's name and 
military station. The Algerians' graves have a foot board 
with a star and crescent on it and the graves are placed 
obliquely heading towards Mecca. Graves are scattered 
thickly over parts of France and no one has been al- 
lowed to remove the bodies of their relatives. That must 
wait until after the war. 

At Commencement time there were exercises in the 
College. A play was cleverly carried off. The French 
are born actors. Monseigneur Marabeau, the bishop of 
Meaux, graced the occasion with his presence. He is a 
successor to the famous Bossuet and is a striking per- 
sonality. Tall and of commanding presence he is every 
inch a leader. He made the rounds of the hospital and 
shook hands with every poilu, inquiring of their home 
town and gave each one a "jolly." He must have trav- 
eled extensively in France, because he seemed to have a 
bon mot for everyone, making jokes about their districts 
and causing many a laugh. 

The French priests have certainly shown up well in 
the war. We hear that there are 8,000 in the arm)-. 
There is a heavy burden on those who are not in the 
trenches, as the labor of caring for the sick and poor 
has greatly increased. The soldiers as a rule are de- 
vout Catholics and most of them go to mass when they 
are able. The war has brought about a spiritual awak- 
ening in France. Widows and mothers who have lost 
their husbands and sons turn to the church for comfort 
and strong men facing death look to the church for 
spiritual strength to meet the great test. The director 
of the college is a militant churchman, and is with the 
army at Salonica, where he has been wounded and pro- 
moted for bravery. 

July 14th, the French great national holiday, was one 

72 With the American Ambulance in France. 

of the most inspiring days we have lived through. We 
learned that there was going to be a parade of the Allies' 
troops, so we came in to Paris to see it. Our view point 
was the roof of the Hotel Crillon, looking down on the 
Place de la Concorde. The square was black with peo- 
ple, leaving only an open space for the troops to march 
through. Down along the Champs Elysees they came, 
over the spot where the guillotine stood, through the 
Place, past the obelisk and up the rue Royale. All the 
Allies were represented. There were of course the poilus 
with their steel helmets and blue uniforms, foot soldiers, 
bicycle corps, cavalry and Algerian troops and an artil- 
lery detachment with the famous soixante-quinze. En- 
glish, Scotch, Irish, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand 
and Indian troops represented Great Britain. A Belgian 
company was there and Russians, the biggest men of all. 
Italian soldiers with their waving feather plumes made a 
natty appearance. Even Servia was represented by a few 
troops and the Annamites from Franco-China. 

The crowd went wild and cheered themselves hoarse 
and the sight was inspiring to everyone. There was not 
an American onlooker who did not have the feeling in his 
heart that our boys in khaki should be there marching 
along with the French and British and the others, and 
that perhaps they would be by the next anniversary of the 
fall of the Bastille. 

Sen I is. 




One of the many acts of barbarism committed by the 
Germans which have arrayed most of the civilized world 
against them has been the destruction of unprotected 
and helpless towns and the shooting of civilians. In Bel- 
gium and in Northern France there has always been the 
same old excuse that the civilians had fired on their 
troops. This has been proved over and over again to be 
false. In other cases shots were fired but they were fired 
by accidental or intended discharge of German rifles or 
Belgian and French soldiers on the village outskirts had 
fired on the enemy. Even if in some isolated instances 
civilians had fired on the Germans (which is not admitted 
and has not been authenticated) there is absolutely no 
justification for the wholesale burning of houses and mur- 
der of innocent men, women and children. 

Senlis suffered such a fate and the story of her suf- 
ferings may be cited as a typical example of the Ger- 
man policy of "frightfulness." What senseless barbar- 
ism to thus try and intimidate the French ! No people 
has greater love of country and home than the French, 
and Germany's barbarism and inhumanity, far from ter- 
rorising the French, made them all the more determined 
in the defense of their homes and country. 

Those who know this part of France will remember 
Senlis as one of the most charming towns of this region. 
Situated near the forest of Chantilly, the wooded coun- 
try furnishes excellent stag hunting and the chief hostelry 
of the town is named "L'hotel du Grand Cerf." The in- 
teresting little arena, walls and towers are among the 
best relics of Roman rule in Northern France, while 
the old chateau of Henri IV and the splendid cathedral 
furnish a wealth of sightseeing to a visitor. 

Nowadays the visitor sees first the railway station 
burned : only a shell of wall stands, over which waves 

Sen I is. 


the tricolor. Nearly all the houses lining- the rue de la 
Republique have been burned, also the St. Martin quar- 

Some of the walls standing give evidence of former 
splendor as is the case of the Palais de Justice and some 
of the large private residences. Those that suffered most 
were the humbler dwellings of the bourgeois. Even the 
hospital was not spared. We saw the wall riddled with 
bullet holes of the machine guns. The bullets had not 
touched the crucifix on the wall but had surrounded it 
in a remarkable manner. We heard from the sweet- 
faced sister how they were caring not only for French 
wounded but for German soldiers when the hospital was 
fired on. In the unmolested quarter is a small house on 
the door of which is written in chalk, "Gute Leute-Bitte 
Schoenen." The inmates have disappeared long since. 
Had this anything to do with Germany's very complete 
spy system? The writing is still there and serves the 
purpose of a warning and reminder. 

On September 1, 1914, the sound of cannon was 
heard in the near distance, but the inhabitants had no 
idea of their impending fate. A number of people had 
already departed, but the Mayor and city officials re- 
mained at their post. On September 2nd the sound 
became louder and a large part of the population fled, 
some on foot, some on bicycles, others in wagons. The 
stores began to close and excitement increased. Soon 
some French troops appeared, fighting- in retreat, and 
crossed the city in the direction of Paris. The inhab- 
itants quickly became aware of the proximity of the Ger- 
mans when shells began to fall, killing a few people. At 
four o'clock the German troops of Yon Kluck's army 
appeared, marching through the streets in two columns. 
At the Mairie they demanded the "bourgomaester" and 
the Mayor, Eugene Odent, presented himself, and he was 
at once marched off to the Hotel du Grand Cerf, where 
the Germans established their headquarters. The French 
troops who had passed through Senlis in retreat had 

76 With the American Ambulance in France. 

posted themselves on the outskirts towards Chantilly and 
fired on the advance guards of the Germans. The mayor 
was then faced with the accusation that the inhabitants 
had fired on the Germans and this he denied vehemently, 
as they had no arms and had been instructed to offer no 
resistance. Then followed the inhuman crimes of the 
Germans as a punishment for the legitimate attack of 
the French rear guard. The Mayor and six citizens 
seized at hazard in the streets, were taken to the suburb 
of Chamant and, without any trial or opportunity to say 
farewell to their families, were shot forthwith. Here are 
the names of the victims : 

Eugene Odent, mayor, 59 years of age ; 

Arthur Rigualt, stone cutter, 61 years of age ; 

Romand Aubert, tanner, 52 years of age ; 

Jean Pommier, laborer, 67 years of age; 

Jean Barbier, driver, 66 years of age; 

Arthur Cottrau, dish washer, 17 years of age; 

Pierre Dewert, chauffeur, 45 years of age. 

Several citizens, including Madame Painchaux and her 
five year old child, were seized and forced to march be- 
fore the German soldiers down the rue de la Republique, 
where most of them were shot down by French bullets 
before the French soldiers on the edge of the forest 
ceased firing. 

The rage of the Germans upon meeting any opposition 
knew no bounds, and a good part of Senlis was set in 
flames. To burn a defenseless town they were well pre- 
pared with incendiary apparatus, bombs and grenades. 
A hundred and four houses were burned and it was with 
the greatest difficulty that the Archbishop Dourlent re- 
ceived the concession that the entire town would not be 

"They have fired on us and officers and soldiers have 
been killed. See, this is the first chastisement, this street 
that is burning. Tonight Senlis will undergo the same 
fate and tomorrow not a house will be left standing." 

The archbishop overwhelmed at these words replied, 


With the American Ambulance in France. 

"It cannot be possible that you would commit this crime. 
They have not fired on you. It is the French army that 
has been firing on your troops." 

"Soldiers against soldiers," replied the officer, "e'est la 
guerre, but civilians and priests fired on us at Louvain 
in the street and from the church tower. Here the same 
thing has happened." 

The priest replied vehemently, "I do not know what 
happened at Louvain, but no one has fired from the ca- 
thedral tower here. I alone have the key to the tower 
since the beginning of hostilities, and I have given it to 
no one. This morning I climbed up into the tower to see 
where the fighting was going on so as to be able to direct 
those of my parishioners who wished to flee. You don't 
suppose that I am able to carry a machine gun into the 
tower ? I am telling you the truth and will take my oath 
to it." 

The murdering of the Mayor and six inoffensive cit- 
izens, the use of men, women and children as a shield for 
their troops against French bullets, the destruction of a 
large part of the town by fire did not satisfy the furor 
Teutonica. Pillage remained for the brute appetite. 
Houses were broken open, cellars ransacked and they 
satiated their thirst in drunken orgies. Xo one was 
safe from these frenzied Huns. The story of Simon the 
tobacconist is typical of what happened. On the second 
of September, towards the middle of the afternoon, a 
dozen soldiers entered his shop. "A boire," they com- 
manded in their drunken rage. Simon hurried to serve 
them and, while some of them drank, others helped them- 
selves to tobacco and the small stock of groceries. "A 
boire, encore et toujours." There was no more wine 
drawn, so Simon sent his father-in-law and assistant to 
the cellar for more. "More wine and quickly," and as 
the service seemed too slow they seized the three men 
violently crying, "You fired at us." Simon protested 
that he had not fired and besides that he had never had 
a weapon in his house. He had no chance to protest 

The Battlefield of the Marne. 


further as he was placed against the wall and shot. The 
assistant escaped, the father-in-law was one of those 
placed in front of the German troops as a protection and 
was mortally wounded. Poor Simon's shop stands there 
today, that is the ruins of it, marked by the legend on 
a board "Debit Simon." 

And so on, other stories could be told of the killing of 
innocent civilians. 

The ruins of Senlis, the graves of innocent victims and 
the memories of those frightful clays remain as in many 
a town of Belgium and Northern France an irrefuta- 
ble record of German criminal wantonness. 



The battle of the Marne was stupendous. Visitors who 
see a part of the battle field by way of Meaux gain but a 
small idea of its extent but a good idea of its intensity. 
It was in the region of Meaux that a critical phase of the 
battle developed when General Manoury's Sixth Army 
held and began to turn the flank of Yon Kluck's First 
German Army. 

The line of battle extended from Nanteuil almost to 
Verdun, a distance of about 120 miles. The battle lasted 
from the 5th to the 12th of September, 1914. The dis- 
tance from the northern to the southern edge of the bat- 
tlefield may be said to be roughly 50 miles, so that the 
battle field area may be estimated to cover an area of 
6,000 square miles. The battlefield is historic ground. 
Fourteen centuries ago the invading Huns had been 
driven back on the field of Chalons. On the day that the 
French first declared a republic, in 1792, the invaders 
had been repulsed at Valmy. Napoleon executed some 
of his brilliant exploits on these same fields. 

The Battlefield of the Maine. 


As regards the number of troops engaging in the bat- 
tle an official announcement has not as yet been given. 
The army corps and divisions engaged are known but the 
impossibility of knowing what casualties had occurred 
since the beginning of the war, only makes an estimate 
possible. On the Allies side it is probable that 700,000 
men were under General Joffre's orders. It is generally 
believed, except by the German public, that the Ger- 
mans were in superior numbers, probably over a million. 
Compared with Napoleon's time, at the battle of Water- 
loo there were 60,000 French and 70,000 allies engaged. 
In modern times at the battle of Mukden there were 
270,000 Russian troops and 280,000 Japanese, while in 
the greatest battle of our Civil War there were about 
150,000 troops on both sides. 

The first shot of the battle apparently was fired from 
a German battery at Monthyon at noon on September 
5th. Paris lies but twenty-two miles away, and on a 
clear day the Eiffel tower may be seen from the Month- 
yon hill top. 

The town of Meaux narrowly escaped as the battle 
reached to its very gates. The bridges connecting the 
thirteenth century mills with the river banks were blown 
up to delay the German advance, but the town itself was 
only slightly damaged by shell fire. 

Spread out to the north and east of Meaux lies a rich, 
agricultural plain on each side of the Marne valley. The 
villages scattered over this plain show signs of heavy 
fighting. Houses have been demolished by shell fire and 
walls are pock marked by bullets. Barcy, Chambry, 
Chauconin, Etrepilly, Marcilly and Etavigny are all 
historic names. 

At Chambry the Germans had transformed the ceme- 
tery into a fortress by piercing the walls with loop-holes 
for their machine guns. From this stronghold they were 
brilliantly driven out by the Zouaves. The numerous 
bullet marks showing on the walls, monuments and tombs 

82 With the American Ambulance in France. 

of the cemetery give some idea of how fierce the fight- 
ing must have been. 

Scattered over the fields are hundreds and thousands of 
graves, each one marked with a little white cross, many 
with a small French flag and some with the dead soldier's 
red cap pathetically resting on top of the cross. 

The places where the French threw themselves against 
the invaders in bayonet charges are easy to find as here 
the graves are thick. Scattered here and there are iso- 
lated graves near some village where a badly wounded 
man perhaps tried to crawl for help and bled to death 
on the way. 

Hung to the little posts enclosing the graves are seen 
here and there wide mouthed bottles containing written 
messages. Within these bottles one can read a message 
from a mother or wife begging for anyone who can to 
give them information about their missing son or hus- 
band. Rarely will their aching hearts learn anything 
about their loved one. He has been buried unmarked, a 
shapeless and unidentified mass, or a shell explosion has 
wiped him out completely. 

On a hill commanding a view of the surrounding 
country is the farm of Champfleury. Here Von Kluck 
had his headquarters for eight days and saw that the 
battle was lost, retreat was necessary to save what was 
left and Germany's dream of world conquest was shat- 
tered. The farm house has been repaired since the Ger- 
mans left it, but it shows numerous scars of bullets and 
shell fire. The proprietor told us that he left in his au- 
tomobile for Paris as the Germans were seen coming 
over the hill from the north. There was no hesitation 
or hunting for suitable headquarters. The desirable 
sites were apparently well known. The proprietor, of 
the wealthy farmer class, had a good wine cellar, which 
he found thoroughly demolished on his return. In the 
front grounds stands a cherry tree with an iron chair 

84 With the American Ambulance in France. 

wedged securely among its branches. This seat must 
have commanded a fine view of the battle for a staff of- 
ficer or perhaps Von Kluck himself. On a wall and on a 
table top are written some pleasantries in German script 
with allusions to the good times they had had with cham- 
pagne and billiards and regrets at leaving. These writ- 
ings have not been effaced, nor has the billiard room, 
battered and smashed, been changed from the condition 
in which it was found on the return of the owner. 

Beyond Champfleury is the farm of Poligny, very ef- 
fectually burned by the Germans. The large wheat han- 
gar was used by the enemy as a funeral pyre for 2000 of 
their dead, and its twisted girders have fallen in on a 
mass of ashes, broken tiles and melted bones. In this 
region the Germans used a number of hangars for the 
same purpose, perhaps because there was no time to bury 
their dead, perhaps because they did not want their op- 
ponents to know the extent of their losses. Frightened 
peasants who were hiding in their cellars tell of shrieks 
of dying men who were thrown into the fire. 

At Etavigny, where there was heavy fighting, village 
children presented us with handfuls of shrapnel balls 
picked up in the fields. The church was badly damaged 
by shells and lying at the portal is the church bell, rent 
in twain. Among some blood stained straw strewn over 
the floor we picked up some exploded cartridges. 

Beyond Etavigny, where the Germans made a stand, is 
a long line of trench now overgrown with grass. There 
were empty tin cans, bits of clothing and leather to be 
seen scattered about. Our chauffeur told us that on a 
previous visit he had found a German boot attached to 
what was once a leg, sticking out of the ground. 

The booming of the cannon towards the east, the little 
tri-color flags waving over the graves scattered among 
the growing crops, the shell marked ruined villages, the 
rolling plains stretching in every direction, are bound to 
produce in the visitor's mind the question, "Why did not 
the German army sweep on as they had through Belgium 

The Battlefield of the Marne. 


and Northern France and capture Paris?" "How was 
it that this powerful machine with forty years of prep- 
aration was stopped and driven back?" 

Among- other problems, the military writers for cen- 
turies to come will be kept busy on the explanation of 
the battle of the Marne. 

In an analysis of the reasons for the defeat of the 
world-grasping German plan, the vitalizing moral forces 
of the armies will ever be preeminent. Napoleon said that 
"in war the moral is to the physical as three is to one." 

The French soldiers were fighting in defense of their 
country, their homes, wives and children. The British 
soldier thought of homes a few miles across the channel. 
The German soldier was fighting a war of aggression, 
carnage, destruction of innocent towns and civilians. The 
vain glory of hacking through Belgium and Northern 
France with superior force, the lust of blood and slaugh- 
ter could not stand against the moral forces of patriotism 
and sacrifice that opposed them. Joffre well knew the 
French soldier in his famous order of the day when he 
said, "Une troupe qui ne pourra plus avancer devra, coute 
que coute, garder le terrain conquis et se faire tuer plutot 
que de reculer." 

86 With the American Ambulance in France. 



Early in the spring an aviation training camp was es- 
tablished at Plessis-Belleville, about five miles from Juilly. 
A wheat field was cleared off, huge hangars were erected 
and, in a few days, a great number of aeroplanes made 
their appearance. There were a variety of makes, from 
the heavy, slow Farnam to the rapid Nieuport. 

We were officially notified that we were now attached 
to the organization as the surgical hospital, and we did 
not have long to wait for our patients. Almost on the 
first day an aeroplane fell from a great height and two 
aviators were brought in with broken skulls, one to die 
in a few hours, the other to recover, partly paralyzed, 
after a long illness. 

The aviators are a superior lot of men. First, they 
have to pass strict physical tests, and also they are for 
the most part men of superior education. Some of them 
are descendants of the old nobility and still cherish in- 
herited titles. Some speak English well and have trav- 
eled in America. The flyers are young men, as older 
men, over thirty, are considered to be too cautious. The 
French say that to be an aviator a man has to be a little 
peculiar — that a normal, sane man does not make a good 

Accidents are frequent, five in one day. They are of 
varying severity. One man got too near a propeller 
and had half his scalp torn off. Broken legs and arms 
are common. One poor fellow was high up in the air 
when his machine caught fire and he was picked up a 
charred corpse. 

An afternoon at the flying field is a great sight. There 
are dozens of aeroplanes ascending and descending. Oth- 
ers are soaring around in the heavens at great heights. 
The aviators dress in a variety of uniforms, which seem 
to be chosen according to personal taste, as there is no 

88 With the American Ambulance in France. 

fixed uniform. For cold weather they have shaggy coats 
of animal skins. The headquarters are located in Prince 
Radziwill's beautiful chateau at Ermenonville. The 
building- is surrounded by a moat in medieval style. On a 
small island in a nearby lake is the empty tomb of Rous- 
seau, where the famous philosopher was buried before 
his remains were transferred to the Pantheon. The Ger- 
mans were here in September, 1914, but limited their dep- 
redations to smashing in a few closets and bureaus. Some 
of the servants of the chateau gleaned that the Germans 
counted on returning after Paris was captured, in order 
to enjoy the hunting for which Ermenonville is famous. 

After the aviation field had been in use some months, 
word passed around the Ambulance that there were some 
American boys there in training. We hoped to see them 
and were delighted one day, shortly before they left for 
the front, to have a call from Thaw, Prince, McConnell 
and Rockwell. They were a fine lot of fellows with the 
quiet modesty of brave men who have done something 
worth while but do not boast about it. They are held in 
high esteem and admired by their French comrades, and 
it seemed as if there could be no better recognition of 
their bravery and skill. We were sorry not to see Victor 
Chapman. The French say he is very daring. Norman 
Prince is a nephew of Dr. Morton Prince of Boston, a 
well known alienist, and is a Harvard graduate. He is 
said to have originated the American Squadron as an or- 
ganization. Thaw is a Yale man and has served in the 
Foreign Legion. He is about 25 but looks much older. 
Rockwell was also in the Foreign Legion. He is a 
Southerner and is tall and handsome. McConnell is also 
a Southerner but looks as if he might come from New 
England. Thaw and McConnell are powerfully built, 
Rockwell is slender and Prince is short and stocky. There 
is a quiet air of determination and devotion about these 
men that makes every one of us Americans feel proud of 
our fellow countrymen. 

We said good-by to them with sadness, feeling that it 

Incidents and Observations. 


was perhaps good-by and not an revoir. Alas, our fore- 
bodings were too true. A few months later only Thaw 
is left. Rockwell, Prince and McConnell have fallen on 
the field of honor. 

Well are these heroes worthy of the words of Alan 
Seeger, the brilliant young poet of the Foreign Legion : 

"Some there were 

Who, not unmindful of the antique debt 

Came back the generous path of Lafayette. 

Yet sought they neither recompense nor praise, 

Nor to be mentioned in another breath 

Than their blue coated comrades whose great days 

It was their pride to share — ay, share even to the death ! 

Nay, rather, France to you they rendered thanks 

(Seeing they came for honor not for gain) 

Who, opening to them your glorious ranks. 

Gave them that grand occasion to excel, 

That chance to live the life most free from stain 

And that rare privilege of dying well." 



We soon learned that there are several ways of speak- 
ing French. Our blesses came from almost every part 
of France, and as our ears became accustomed to the 
French sounds, we learned to tell in a general way from 
what part of France our soldiers came. The southerners 
who sounded the mute "e" and the Bretons, were almost 
unmistakable. Our "Henri IV" from Beam spoke in 
such a jerky manner that he was understood with diffi- 
culty by his comrades. He always called potatoes "po- 
tate" instead of "pomme de terre." 

One little Breton who used to make a living by sailing 
to Dundee with loads of onions, spoke English with a 

90 With the American Ambulance in Fran 

Scotch accent and was nicknamed "Scottie. It was 
amusing- to hear him talk, partly French and partly with 
his strong Scotch accent. Me was shy at first, but grad- 
ually became conscious of his linguistic accomplishments, 
until one day when he was called on for a menial service 
by one of his comrades, announced that he was "the in- 
terpreter for the nurses." 

After a while we learned that the soldiers use a good 
many words not to be found in any standard dictionary. 
In fact there is almost a new trench language, Target des 
tranchees. One has to learn some of it if he is going to 
understand what is going on. Paris is usually referred to 
as "Panam" or "Pantruche." The canned meat of the 
trench ration is "singe," coffee is "jus," wine is "pinard." 
A comrade is a "poteau" or "pote." A wine-shop is a 
"bistro" and so on. The origin of the word "poilu" is not 
settled. Some say it comes from the whiskered appear- 
ance of the soldiers on their return home on leave, others 
that it was a term applied to Napoleon's brigadiers on 
account of their large hair helmets. At any rate the 
term has come to stay, not only in French writings but 
in English. 

* * * 

One who has worked among French wounded cannot 
but be impressed with the absence of personal hatred 
shown by the French soldier against the Germans. They 
hate the things the Germans stand for, the invasion and 
devastation of peaceful countries, the destruction of un- 
protected towns, the massacre of unoffending men, 
women and children, the use of gas and liquid fire in war- 
fare, but it was rare to find any expression of hatred 
against the German soldier. In battle the French soldier 
fights like a man with a noble heritage in defense of his 
country and family, and it is well known that the Ger- 
mans will not stand against them in a bayonet charge. 
But once the wounded German comes into his hands 
he is treated with the natural magnanimity of the race 
in the spirit of Bayard. The American Ambulance driv- 

92 With the American Ambulance in France. 

ers tell us that they are instructed to carry badly wound- 
ed Germans to the rear while the French wounded lie 
there and await their turn. 

I saw at Creil a little tow-headed Saxon prisoner in 
a hospital ward with twenty or more French soldiers. 
He received the same food as they did, laughed and joked 
with them, played cards and it was hard to realize that 
he was a prisoner. With the Major's permission I had 
a little conversation with him. He said he didn't know 
what they were fighting for and that he wished the war 
was over so that he could go home to his family — that 
he was called out and had to go with the army or be 

>|c :j; $c , 

The French soldiers are a wonderfully happy lot of 
men. As soon as they are well enough, they enjoy life, 
relish their meals, play games, read, sing, listen to the 
graphophone, make rings out of pieces of shells and other 
trinkets, or walk around the park. Those who are laid up 
for a long time with a bad fracture, weave baskets or 
make shawls on a wooden frame. It was rare to see 
one idle. The men who come from the invaded districts, 
who have not seen or heard from their wives and chil- 
dren for months or years, have a different look in their 
eyes. It is a sad and thoughtful look. Woe betide any 
German who stands in front of them in a bayonet charge ! 

The French are fond of ceremony and their ceremonies 
of decorating soldiers are carried out in such a dignified 
and touching manner that they are inspiring. I shall 
never forget the first decoration that I saw. In the lit- 
tle square in front of the college, two companies of troops 
assembled. The troops were composed of territorials, old 
fellows, gray-haired and bald-headed — the country's last 
reserve. The soldiers formed a hollow square and pre- 
sented arms, the bugles and trumpets sounded and a 
wounded one-armed soldier stepped forward into the 
center of the square, his cheeks red with excitement and 
his remaining hand twitching with nervous exhilaration. 

A funeral procession going from the hospital to the village church. 

94 With the American Ambulance in France. 

The Colonel then read a recital of the soldier's deeds of 
valor, signed by Joffre, pinned the two decorations on the 
soldier's breast and kissed him on both cheeks. The 
trumpets sounded, the troops marched around the square 
and we all congratulated the proud soldier on receiving 
the Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. We saw 
quite a number of decorations. When we had a lot of 
wounded from Verdun, sixteen men were decorated at 
one ceremony and the embrace on both cheeks had 
changed to a handshake. We had the feeling that every 
man who fought at Verdun was a hero and should be 

% % 

The soldier's funeral is sad and there is such simplicity 
and pathos that we were always affected, but came away 
with the feeling that the soldier had done a big and noble 
thing in giving his life for his country. The funeral pro- 
cessions started at the hospital and filed across the little 
square to the village church. The blesses were there, 
everyone who could make it — some on crutches, others 
with arms in splints and heads swathed in bandages. 
The village priest intoned the service assisted in the re- 
sponses by the choir, consisting of one old man and a 
nun who played the church organ. The ceremony over, 
all who could walked to the cemetery on the edge of the 
village. The coffin was usually carried by a detail of ar- 
tillerymen from the neighboring post. At the cemetery 
the coffin was deposited by the side of the freshly dug 
grave, the priest chanted the ritual, each one in turn 
sprinkled holy water on the bier and the crowd departed 
leaving flowers on the coffin. No salute was fired, as no 
powder is wasted. The booming of cannon towards 
Soissons always brought to us the reality of war. 

If the relatives of the dead soldier were present they 
always stood at the gate of the cemetery and shook hands 
with and thanked each one of us as we passed by. 

* * * 

A soldier's burial. 

96 With the American Ambulance in France. 

The poilu is a practical philosopher in the hospital. If 
he has lost a limb he is thankful for the one that is left 
to him. If he is badly wounded he is glad it is not worse. 

Someone has worked out in words the philosophy of 
the French soldier or the "Poilus' Litany" as follows: 

"When I am mobilized, I shall either be kept in the 
rear or sent to the front. If I remain in the rear there 
is nothing to worry about. If I am sent to the front one 
of two things can happen. I shall either be sent to a 
post of no danger or to a dangerous position. If I am 
sent to a post of danger, one of two things can happen. 
I shall either be wounded or I shall not be wounded. If 
I am not wounded, there is nothing to worry about. If 
I am wounded, I shall either be slightly or severely 
wounded. If I am slightly wounded, there is nothing to 
worry about. If I am severely wounded, one of two 
things can happen. I shall either get well, in which 
case there is nothing to worry about, or I shall die, and 
then I can't worry." 



One day in the spring of 1916 as we were going into 
the dining room of the Hotel du Grand Cerf at Senlis, 
we passed a French general who was leaving the room 
followed by several officers. The general was a medium- 
sized man with a grayish moustache. His strong but 
kindly face was marked with lines of care. A Belgian 
in our party exclaimed, "That is General Foch !" so we 
rushed to the window to have another look at him as he 
entered his limousine and succeeded in getting a snap- 

Before the war Foch was well known as a professor 
in the military school at St. Cyr and his writings are 



standard works on military subjects. As Joffre's right- 
hand man he is recognized as the greatest strategist of 
the French Army. At the battle of the Marne General 
Foch commanded the Ninth army, and it was at the 
marshes of St. Gond that he executed his famous 
maneuver and sent his celebrated message : "My left is 
broken, my right is routed, therefore I will attack with 
the center." 

We came very near having the distinguished general 
for a patient at one time. A hurry call was sent for an 
ambulance to go to an accident on the road not far from 
Meaux. When our ambulance arrived there they found 
a fine Rolls-Royce car badly damaged by a collision with 
a stout elm tree. The passengers were no less than the 
famous General Foch and his son-in-law. They were 
both injured but, as it turned out, not seriously. Travel- 
ing along the narrow road lined with trees, at a rapid 
rate, it had been a question of going into a tree or 
smashing into a peasant's cart containing some women 
and children, and the chauffeur chose the former. It 
was a narrow escape for the general and his loss from 
such an accident would have been most untimely. We 
offered him the best our hospital afforded but he pre- 
ferred to go to the hospital at Meaux, where, on account 
of it being a military center, he would have superior 
telegraphic and telephonic communication. Our ambu- 
lance carried him to Meaux as he wished and returned 
to the hospital where everyone was disappointed that it 
did not bring back the distinguished patient. 

The next day one of our nurses was at Meaux visiting 
a patient in the hospital and had the good fortune to 
see General Joffre and President Poincare when they 
came to visit General Foch. 

They say that Foch is the master mind of strategy of 
all France. He is very highly esteemed but for no one 
have the people the affection that they have for Joffre. 
Rarely has any man commanded the universal love and 
admiration of an entire people as does "Papa" Joffre. 

98 With the American Ambulance in France. 

Someone brought a copy of Miss Aldrich's book, "A 
Hilltop on the Marne," to the ambulance and we learned, 
on consulting- the map, that her little village of Huiry 
was within a few miles of us. One day we started out 
to find it but, on arriving at the Marne, we could not 
cross the river as the bridge had been blown up before 
the battle and had not yet been repaired. Another day 
we had better success by crossing the Marne higher up, 
where we found a bridge that had been put in shape 
again. By following an automobile map, we traced our 
way along the country roads until we reached the charm- 
ing village on the hilltop. There was no need of enquir- 
ing for Miss Aldrich's home, as it stood before us just 
as she described it with its ''six gables, jumble of roofs 
and chimneys." The "small garden" was there "sepa- 
rated from the road bv an old, gnarled hedge of hazel." 
Apparently we were first mistaken for Cook's tourists 
for which breed Miss Aldrich has a holy horror and 
shudders at the thought that four hundred have alreadv 
registered to visit her nest after the war. When we 
properly identified ourselves we received a cordial Ameri- 
can welcome. The view from her terrace was all that 
she claimed for it, "a panorama rarely seen equaled," 
and it is described so much better in her book than T 
could write about it that no description shall be at- 
tempted. With field glasses we could plainly see the 
villages scattered over the Marne valley and could see 
the battlements of Juilly partly hidden in a hollow. 

From the gifted authoress' vivid description we felt 
that we ourselves had stood there as she did when the 
cannon roared, the air was thick with smoke of shells 
and burning villages and the fading cannon shot told 
her that the foe was in retreat. Amelie. Aberlard and 
the donkey were all there, just as described. We saw 
the wood where the Uhlans had hidden and the road 
where the Irish scout had fallen off his bicycle when 
the effects of the large drink of eau de vie de prunes had 
come upon him. 



Late one winter's night at the end of January, 1916, 
we were aroused by a peculiar roaring sound in the skv 
which came from the direction of Paris and faded away 
in the distance towards the front. Along with it we 
recognized the familiar sounds of aeroplanes and could 
hear the reports of cannon towards Paris. The next 
day we learned that Paris had suffered a Zeppelin raid 
and that these monsters must have passed over our 
village on their return. A few houses demolished, huge 
holes in the pavements, a score or so of men, women and 
child ren killed in their beds, the French people more 
determined than ever — such were the results of the 
raid. What a stupid method of warfare ! Not one stroke 
of military value accomplished and the raids in England 
are the best means of stimulating recruiting. 

* * * 

One day we were surprised to see a British aviator 
walk into the ambulance and enquire if there was any- 
one here who could speak English. As he had run 
short of gasolene and oil, he had descended in a nearby 
field and left the aeroplane in charge of his comrade 
while he started out in quest of these necessities. He 
seemed somewhat surprised to find American men and 
women in the war zone but concealed his surprise in 
accordance with the tenets of English good form. He 
did not volunteer to tell us where he had come from 
or where he was going and we did not think it was 
polite to ask him. He said, however, that as he was de- 
scending he was glad to find that French peasants with 
their rods for driving oxen did not turn out to be Uhlans 
with lances. 

After supplying his lack of gasolene and oil and taking 
a hasty lunch, he departed in a hurry, not forgetting his 
comrade, as his pockets were well filled with bread and 

A few days later came a polite letter from Paris 

100 With the American Ambulance in France. 

thanking- us for our hospitality, so we at least found out 
his destination. 

* * * 

On Washington's Birthday I attended the banquet of 
the American Club as a guest of Mr. Benet, president 
of the club. The dinner was an excellent one, given in 
the large banquet room of the Hotel Palais d'Orsay and 
was attended by about two hundred guests. 

The finest thing of the evening was the speech of Henri 
Bergson, the famous French philosopher. He gave an 
analysis of Washington's character and achievements 
that was a masterpiece. He spoke in simple language, 
in clear, beautiful French so that I hardly missed a word. 
Several times he quoted from Washington's farewell 
address and from other writings, quoting from memory 
and using perfect English. There were other speeches 
in English and French (one by Denys Cochin, Minister 
of State) but none to compare with Bergson's. To end 
the evening's pleasure an American read a long, dry 
speech, which almost spoiled the whole evening. 

# * * 

Some of my letters home were published in the local 
newspapers. Among other incidents I related that a field 
hospital was bombed by German aviators and this was 
kept up on succeeding days, even when the location of 
the hospital was changed. The publication of this inci- 
dent brought forth a protest from a local German that 
it could not be true and a request for further investi- 
gation. A round robin published by five American war 
correspondents, Bennet, McCutchen, Cobb, Hansen and 
Lewis, about alleged German cruelties in Belgium was 
adduced as an argument that such accusations were with- 
out any foundation. I refused to enter into a controversy 
at 8000 miles distance and replied that time and history 
would decide whether atrocities had been committed or 
not. The inadequacy of a "round robin" of any war 
correspondents on the German side is very evident, as 

French peasants at the bedside of their wounded son. 

102 With the American Ambulance in France. 

any acquaintance with the methods of the German staff 
shows that what the correspondents are allowed to ob- 
serve is carefully attended to in the German system. The 
war correspondents on the German side are so carefully 
chaperoned that they see only what the staff wants them 
to see. The overwhelming evidence from Belgium and 
Northern France as to burning", pillaging, rapine and mur- 
der of innocent civilians as part of Germany's system of 
frightfulness will be presented and proven to the world in 
a way that can not he explained away by German subtlety 
and trickiness. 

Richard Norton of Boston in charge of the American 
Volunteer Motor-Ambulance Corps attached to one of 
the divisions of the French armies, made an interesting 
point in one of his letters concerning Germany's pre- 
paredness in the use of poisonous gas. After quoting 
the Bulletin of Information, distributed to the troops on 
October 1st, 1915, which states the numbers of prisoners 
and cannons captured in the Champagne offensive, he 
says : 

"In this notice no mention is made of some very in- 
teresting gas machines that were taken. The}' were of 
two sorts, one for the production of gas, the other to 
counteract its effects. The latter were rather elaborate 
and heavy but very effective instruments consisting of 
two main parts ; one to slip over the head, protecting the 
eyes and clipping the nose, the other an arrangement of 
bags and bottles containing oxygen, which the wearer 
inhaled through a tube held in the mouth. There were 
several forms of these apparatus, but the most inter- 
esting point to note about them is that one had stamped 
upon it the words : 'Type of 191-1 — developed from type 
of 1912, developed from type of 1908,' thus showing that 
seven years ago the Germans had decided to fight with 

One cannot but be impressed with the devotion and 



spirit of sacrifice of the French people. The cry "Liberty, 
Equality and Fraternity," a hundred years or so ago 
made the poorly paid and equipped armies of the French 
revolution irresistible. In 1870 the same spirit was there 
but France was poorly led and the poilu never had a 

France has made large sacrifices and is willing to make 
more. "The Germans must be driven out and Prussian- 
ism must be overthrown, else our children and grand- 
child ren will be called on to defend France again. Bet- 
ter is it to make further sacrifices jusqu'au bout, for the 
sake of our children and their children." 

The world knows of the steadfastness and bravery of 
the poilu, but not enough of the women of France. It is 
safe to say that France could not have held out had it 
not been for the women. A large number of shells fired 
at the invaders of their country are made by women's 
hands. White-haired grandmothers are working in the 
Red Cross. In the country it is a common sight to see 
women gathering in the crops. Children, too, of tender 
years are out in the fields in the cold rain, tending sheep, 
driving carts and helping with the harvest. It is not 
only in the way of replacing the men at productive tasks 
that the French women are so magnificent but it is their 
spirit which is so much to be admired. Women who 
have lost husbands, or sons, or brothers, are fulfilling 
their daily tasks with smiling faces, inspiring with their 
brave spirit the soldier in the trenches. 

104 With the American Ambulance in France. 



The colonel was in command of a body of the famous 
Colonial troops in the offensive. They left the firing 
line at 9:15 on the morning of September 25th and 
charged for the German trenches under heavy shell fire. 
The colonel felt himself hit several times, but suffered 
no pain and was not disabled. The German trench was 
reached and there was some fierce hand to hand fighting. 
Right into a crowd of his men a bomb was thrown and 
lay smoking on the floor of the trench. There was not 
a moment to lose. The colonel seized the bomb and 
threw it back towards the Germans. As he hurled it 
away, it exploded and his hand was blown to pieces. 
He then became conscious of great pain and was evacu- 
ated to the rear. When he reached our hospital we found 
him suffering from twelve wounds. After months of 
hospital treatment necessary for his recovery, he again re- 
ported for duty with request for active service. 

One day during his convalescence we went for a drive 
and, as we rested on a hill which commanded a superb 
view of the fertile plain, dotted with groves of trees and 
little villages, the colonel looked out and exclaimed, 
"Well, this is a land worth fighting for!" 

One of our blesses from Verdun was a ruddy-faced, 
stalwart sergeant. When I examined his scalp wound 
he showed me his steel helmet with a bullet hole in it and 
told this story: 

"In one of the furious attacks at Verdun we were 
charging the Germans with the bayonet. Directly in 
front of me on a little mound was a tall Prussian officer 
with a great plume in his helmet. He had a revolver in 
his hand and as I charged towards him, he pointed it 
at different parts of me, first at my stomach, then at 
my chest. I expected any moment to receive the ball. 

Soldiers' Stories. 


Finally when I was barely two metres away he fired at 
my head. I felt a blow on my head and my casque was 
knocked off." 

He then paused, so I asked, "And what happened 
then ?" 

He replied, "Well, I kept right on running." 
"What happened next?" I asked. 

"I took these field glasses off from around his neck 
and I am glad to give them to you as a souvenir of 

A well-known American manufacturer of artificial legs 
established a branch office in Paris. Thanks to the gener- 
osity of friends every ampute goes out of Juilly hospital 
walking on two feet. The gift of an artificial leg costing 
500 francs is a very practical form of charity as it enables 
a man in many cases to resume his trade and support his 

A soldier reforme, whose leg has been amputated at the 
middle of the thigh, comes out from Paris to take the 
necessary measurements and attend to the fittings. He 
walks with scarcely a limp and may be said to be a walk- 
ing advertisement for his firm. Our artificial leg measurer 
was wounded in the battle of the Marne, near Barcy, 
which is only a few miles from Juilly. He related his story 
to us as follows : 

"Before the war I was a grocer. I was mobilized at 
the onset and sent into active service. I went through all 
the horrors and hardships of the retreat from the Belgian 
frontier. At times we marched along, sound asleep, and 
our comrades fell in the road from exhaustion. We didn't 
know what was going to happen to us. We were at the 
limit of our endurance. When the order came that we 
were to make a stand and die rather than give way fur- 
ther, it was welcomely received. Our regiment was soon 
engaged with the Bodies and we went at them with de- 
termination in our hearts and the consciousness that we 
were driving them back from our women and children. 

108 With the American Ambulance in France. 

The second clay of the battle we were fighting in the open 
fields at close quarters late in the afternoon. I was on 
one knee firing at the Germans, when a rifle ball struck 
me near the knee and tore up my thigh. I fell over, my 
comrades passed on and I lay out in the field in a half- 
conscious condition. I was aroused several hours later 
by the sound of voices, speaking German. It was dark 
and in the distance flashes of cannon lit up the night. I 
was carried by the Germans to the town of Vareddes, 
near by, where I was dumped on the floor of the Mairie 
along with many other wounded. Here I lay for three days 
on the stone floor with some water and a few pieces of 
bread to sustain me. I saw limbs cut off without anaes- 
thetics. The shrieks of the sufferers were terrible. The 
odor of my leg warned me that I was in a bad way. Sud- 
denly, on the fourth day, the Germans departed, driven 
out by the French. 

"I was one of six wounded placed in a large truck and 
sent to Paris. Three of us arrived there alive. We were 
taken to a hospital. I was delirious but conscious enough 
to hear the doctor say there was no use in amputating my 
leg. It was too late. I roused up and begged the doctor 
to amputate and give me the chance. He agreed. I do 
not remember much what happened during the next few 
weeks but I gradually recovered and in three months was 
out of the hospital. One day, limping along on my 
crutches, I saw a sign 'American Artificial Legs.' I en- 
tered the shop and made arrangements to obtain one. I 
became interested in the construction and fitting of the 
leg and delighted when I found I could use it so readily. 
On account of my speaking some English the manager 
offered me a position and so now I have changed from 
a grocer into an artificial leg artisan and I have fitted 
several hundred legs and know there will be many more." 

A School Teacher's Story. 



A reservist of the active army, I was called the second 
day of mobilization to join my regiment. The 5th of 
August, 1914, we departed for the eastern front. My 
regiment formed at this time the part of the second army 
in command of General Dubail. Our duty was to ad- 
vance into Lorraine by Sarrebourg. The advance com- 
menced from the 8th of August and on the 14th I found 
myself for the first time in contact with Bavarian in- 
fantry. It is not easy to give an exact idea of my first 
impressions of combat. It rests in my mind like a dream 
bordering on a nightmare. The sharp whistling of the 
bullets, the overwhelming roar of the cannonade, the 
cries of the wounded, the death rattle, the irresistible, 
"En avant, a la baionnette," then the dead bodies, the 
wounded begging to be carried off the field, the broken 
guns and equipment scattered here and there, furnish a 
picture never to be forgotten and impossible to describe 
in words. I have seen other combats since, attacks and 
hand to hand fighting, but they have never left the im- 
pression on me like the first encounter. 

The Bavarians had to retreat. Proud of our first suc- 
cess we marched ahead and on the 15th of August we 
crossed the frontier singing the "Marseillaise," with our 
flag unfurled at the head of the regiment. The frontier 
boundary post was torn up with general enthusiasm and 
cries of "Vivent l'Alsace et Lorraine." Alas ! our joy was 
a passing one. On the 16th we arrived in sight of Sarre- 
bourg. Saluted by a hail of artillery we advanced now 
very slowly, marching at wide intervals, while about us 
the "Marmites" fell with a deafening noise, marking 
their passage by large holes, veritable tombs dug by in- 
fernal shovels. They were real tombs, because the un- 
happy victims sleep now their last sleep in these shell 
holes. Some troops penetrated to Sarrebourg where they 
were feted by the inhabitants, or at least by those who 

110 With the American Ambulance in Prance. 

had remained French. Flowers, cigars, cakes and wines 
were for them gifts of welcome. These bodies of troops 
were forced to stop at the exit of the city as the enemy 
artillery cnt them down. For my part I was busy with 
my section in a field of oats digging individual "abris" 
which would protect us somewhat against the balls. These 
shelters were our dining rooms, lounging and bed rooms. 
Smoking became a delicate operation, a wise art. As to 
exposing oneself, it was not to be thought of. The six 
biscuits and the can of meat called "monkey-meat" by 
the soldiers, were all we had to eat for these two days. 
During the night of August 18th we were able to retire 
to a small village several kilometres from Sarrebourg, 
where we had the pleasure of sleeping three long hours 
on fresh piles of hay. At 2 o'clock in the morning the 
arrival of shells in the village announced itself by a tre- 
mendous crashing of roofs. It was necessary to retreat 
and now the advance guard had to pass through Sarre- 
bourg again. The German element exultingly showed 
their satisfaction of seeing the flight of the red pantaloons 
by firing on them from the windows with rifles and re- 
volvers. The enemy troops pursued our advance guard 
and inflicted considerable loss on them. Unfortunately 
the fight was too unequal. We were overwhelmed by the 
shells which, minute by minute, followed each other in 
groups of six. We lacked artillery to cause similar losses 
in the ranks of the enemy. Retreat commenced at night- 
fall. What a turmoil ! Pursued, confused, we fled on all 
sides, not knowing where to go. We had to tramp across 
the fields in the dark night over bad and unknown roads. 
Miles succeeded miles. At each instant one fell over 
exhausted soldiers sleeping in the fields or along the sides 
of the road. These we roused or dragged along to aban- 
don again to their fatigue some distance beyond. Others 
trailed behind too far where, unhappy thought, they were 
taken prisoners by the Boches. How many thus fell into 
the hands of the Germans ! The 21st of August we again 
crossed the frontier, but this time it was to return into 

A School Teacher's Story. 


France. The frontier post was there, lying in the river 
bed. It seemed to reproach us now in waiting for the 
Germans to replace it, to carry it further back perhaps. 
We will take it again, we will carry back the frontier 
post to the other side of the Rhine even if it takes our 
last man ! 

After several unsuccessful attempts to take the offensive 
we arrived near the forts of Epinal. Our lines were re- 
organized and we prepared to undertake a vigorous offen- 
sive. On the 28th we drove the Germans out of a nearby 
village while the chasseurs alpins, who had come to our 
aid, captured another village in a furious bayonet charge. 
There I saw, after this combat, one of our soldiers and a 
German infantryman standing upright against a wall each 
one of them transfixed with a bayonet and still holding 
their mnskets in spite of death which had done its work 
some time before. 

We now advanced rapidly. The Germans, not being 
supported by their heavy artillery, were incapable of with- 
standing our offensive. We passed through villages bom- 
barded and burned all in ruins, not a house standing. Most 
of them were a pile of ruins. From this debris there was 
already a nauseating ordor of decaying animals, which 
had not been able to get away : of human beings too, 
perhaps under those ruins. Early in September we 
reached the banks of the Meurthe. Tomorrow we shall 
again be at the frontier. Alas ! No ! We have to make 
a detour and go to support at St. Mihiel the shock of the 
Crown Prince's army, which is resolutely advancing on 
this side, while to the north our troops are drawing 
quickly back before the German assault. It has since 
been said that St. Mihiel and Nancy formed the pivot of 
the maneuver. It was this pivot it was necessary to de- 
fend. Severe fighting ensued at le Grand Couronne, near 
Nancy. Towards St. Mihiel, which was defended by forts, 
there were only skirmishes. The enemy attacked the 
forts. They launched three unsuccessful attacks against 
the fort of Troyon. 

112 With the American Ambulance in France. 

We were called to aid the army at the Aisne after they 
had driven back the Germans at the battle of the Marne. 
We arrived at St. Menehould, then we marched to the 
Camp of Chalons but after one stage we returned. The 
enemy had succeeded in capturing the fort of Troyon. 
We had to return to where we were three days before 
and attack the Germans occupying the village of Apre- 

In the early days of October we occupied the redoubts 
of the fort of Lionville. There for eight days we had 
to submit to a most violent bombardment. An entire 
section of my company with the captain were engulfed in 
one of the redoubts. It was impossible to rescue them. 
After such a bombardment the enemy attacked, always 
in compact masses according to their custom. Their 
losses were enormous. Mowed clown by our machine 
guns, the heaps of corpses preserved very clearly the 
formation of columns by fours. French and Germans 
were on the watch at 50 meters from each other. It was 
impossible to bury the dead and, from time to time, shells 
from both sides struck these corpses and blew them into 
pieces. Cruel profanation. 

After a month there we retired about two kilometers 
in the rear for a rest. There I was wounded in the 
right shoulder by a piece of shell. I was far from ex- 
pecting such an occurrence at this time, when I thought 
I was in safety. I was evacuated and after thirty hours 
of cruel suffering on the train I reached the hospital 
where I was taken care of until I reported at my de- 
pot. I was soon again at the front. Now it was the war of 
the trenches, a warfare not interesting. I remained there 
five months without noting a single event really inter- 
esting. I saw only one casque a point, which one was 
that of a prisoner. From time to time an insignificant 
bombardment, the periodical flooding of the trenches with 
water, the digging that went on, the games of cards at 
the bottom of a hole, the silence of the night disturbed 
occasionally by a rifle shot fired by a sentinel who, strug- 

A School Teacher's Story. 


gling against the desire for sleep, tries to keep himself 
awake by shooting. Voila la guerre en tranchees. 
Twenty days in the trenches, twenty days of repose. 

The first of August, after violent pain, my wound of 
last year broke open and discharged. I was evacuated 
to Compiegne and from there to Juilly. At the American 
Hospital they extracted the piece of shell which for nine 
months was for me a very troublesome guest. Now I 
am almost well. 

I would fear to offend the modesty of the doctors and 
nurses if I set forth their merits. Let me simply say 
that I have found among the Americans who have left 
their land to come to France to care for their wounded 
brothers, a devotion, vigilant attention and constant care 
which makes me admire them and in them admire the 
great nation, sister of France beyond the Atlantic, the 
United States of America. 

In thanking them all from the bottom of my heart, I 
terminate my little story. 

We cared for one soldier of the Foreign Legion. He 
was an architect living in Chicago, an American of 
French descent. There was nothing warlike in his na- 
ture but he could not withstand the call of the blood 
when France was invaded. 

114 With the American Ambulance in Prance. 


I left my home in Chicago in the middle of September, 

1914, and boarded the French liner "Rochambeau" at 
New York. After an uneventful trip of nine days I 
landed at Havre, where I enlisted in the Foreign Legion. 

The Foreign Legion now serving in the war against 
Germany has little in common with the two world famous 
regiments stationed in Algeria. While most of our 
officers were drawn from those regiments only two bat- 
talions were sent out from Africa to "encadrer" the 
foreign volunteers. The remainder were either kept in 
Algeria and Morocco or sent to the Dardanelles or to 
some distant colony like Indo-China. 

In order to train the foreign volunteers six depots were 
provided. The second regiment had three depots — 
Toulouse, Orleans and Blois. I was sent to Toulouse 
where battalion C was being organized and two days 
after my arrival I witnessed the departure of that bat- 
talion for the front. A very picturesque sight it was to 
see them go, all brave hearts, ready to sacrifice them- 
selves for the cause of France. Each of them was flying 
on his knapsack the colors of his respective country. 
Uncle Sam was represented by a good sprinkling of the 
Stars and Stripes lost amidst a greater number of Rus- 
sian, English, Belgian and other flags. 

After a two months' hard drilling, the depot was trans- 
ferred to Orleans and 1 stayed there until January 25, 

1915. I was then ordered to the front with a reinforce- 
ment 200 strong. 

Our regiment with four battalions occupied a front 
ahout two miles long before the plateau of Craonne and 
the ruined city of that name, where the Germans are 
so strongly fortified that its capture would cost at least 
50,000 men. 

I soon got acquainted with the routine of the service 
Six days trenches, six days rest. The part of our sector 

A Foreign Legion Soldier's Story. 


occupied by our company was about 1000 yards from 
the Germans and was therefore a quiet one. It would 
have been even more so, had it not been for the artillery 
of the Germans which daily showered on us fire and 
steel. No event of any importance occurred during my 
four months' stay there except the trial by court-martial 
of nine Russians who refused to go to the trenches. 
Found guilty, they were executed the next day at dawn. 

There 1 came to know the real "Legionnaire" by which 
I mean the one from Africa. The following verses which 

I plagiarize from the comic opera "Les Mousquetaires an 
Convent" quite well typifies them. I only substitute the 
word "Legionnaire" for "Mousquetaire :" 

Pour etre tin brave Legionnaire 

II faut avoir l'esprit joyeux 
Grand air et leger caractere 

Aimer les femmes, boire encore mieux. 

But good fellows after all and ready to help when sober. 

We left Craonne in May and were sent to Sillery, a 
very bad place, where the battalion lost 150 men in one 
week. We were then shifted over to a place near Rheims 
and in July were sent to rest in the neighborhood of 

President Poincare and General Jo fire came to review 
us and we were presented with a flag which was well 
earned by ten months of warfare. 

After a short time in Alsace, where I got a sight of 
the famous Hartmannwillerskopf of which so much has 
been written, we were ordered to Champagne with the 
whole Moroccan division, of which we were a part, and 
on the 25th of September took an active part in the 
general offensive. 

On the 26th while entrenched on the plain in front 
of the "Ferme Navarin" as reserve of the 6th Army 
Corps, I volunteered in the midst of bursting shells to 
go and get some water for my squad. On my return I 
was struck by a shell which fractured my femur, missing 
the femoral artery by only a hair. Carried away from 

116 With the American Ambulance in France. 

the field of battle to Souain I spent the night on a stretcher 
suffering with a terrible fever while the rain poured 
down. The next day the motor ambulance took me to 
Chalons and from there I was sent to the ambulance at 
Juilly where I found myself again in America. Thanks 
to the good care which I received my wounds soon healed 
up and the bone united so that I will be able to walk as 
well as ever. 

To the end of the offensive the Legion, faithful to its 
glorious past, distinguished itself but was almost wiped 
out. The original number has very much dwindled and 
only one regiment is left under the name of Regiment 
de marche de la Legion Etrangere but it is as eager to 
fight and die for the cause of Right and Justice as it 
was on the first day of the war. 

One of our blesses was a little rag picker. He was 
always smiling, so someone named him "Sunny Jim" and 
the name clung to him. As his comrades adopted the 
name the little poilu became proud of it and signed him- 
self your grateful "Sanidaime." A German bullet had 
gone through his temple cutting the optic nerve of one 
eye but "Sunny Jim" was happy that he had one good 

After a few days our little poilu told us about his 
experiences in the Champagne offensives. 

Sunny Jim's Story. 



"At three o'clock the morning- of September 25th, we 
left our camp for the 'tranchees de depart.' At five 
o'clock we arrived at our destination. There was a ter- 
rific bombardment going on. We filled our musettes 
with grenades. The news soon circulated in the trench 
that we would attack at a quarter past nine. The time 
passed as we sat quietly on the floor of the trench wait- 
ing for the opportunity to measure ourselves with the 
cursed Boches. At nine o'clock we stood ready. At 
nine ten we fixed bayonets. Suddenly a short order 
spread down the line. We sprang over the edge and 
crossed the barbed wire. As far as we could see on 
each side of us were our comrades running forward. 
This gave us courage. We arrived at the first line. There 
was not a live German there, only dead ones. Our artil- 
lery fire had destroyed the trench and we could see arms 
and legs sticking out of the earth. Some of our soldiers 
began to fall but we kept on and passed the second and 
third trenches which were as badly battered as the first. 
Then out in the open, bullets began to arrive in great 
numbers, also shells, but we kept on. Suddenly we came 
across a strong force of the enemy. Now it was time to 
know how to use the bayonet. We threw ourselves on 
them and the combat was on, a terrible melee. Steel 
met steel, and steel was driven into flesh until the Ger- 
mans gave way and retreated. But we did not give them 
time to get away. Just as we had advanced about a 
hundred metres a ball struck me in the head and laid me 
out senseless. I fell into the ditch along the roadside. 
I lay there twenty-four hours regaining consciousness 
several times only to faint away again. Finally during 
the night I came to myself. I was tortured by thirst. I 
had two bidons of water with me but I was too weak to 
raise myself. The next day stretcher bearers passed by 
and saw us. I was not alone, as a dead comrade lay 

118 With the American Ambulance in Prance. 

alongside of me. They looked at us but thinking us both 
dead they were about to go on when I collected my forces 
sufficiently to cry out for something to drink. They then 
picked me up and carried me to Souain where I received 
the first dressing. From there I was taken to Chalons 
and after three days I was sent to Juilly. It will be 
with regret that I will quit this hospital for which I shall 
always have a pleasant and ineffaceable memory." 


I was mobilized the second of August, 1914. As soon 
as I arrived at my depot, we were sent to join the active 
forces in Belgium. We crossed the Belgian frontier on 
August 12th, and continued to Charleroi where the little 
Belgian soldiers fought like lions against the Bodies but 
unfortunately we arrived too late and the retreat com- 

The retreat was in good order. At one time we were 
the advance guard, clearing the road in order to avoid 
ambuscades, at other times we were the rear guard, pro- 
tecting the retreat of our brothers in arms. 

The first serious combat that I took part in was at Moy, 
a village between la Fere and St. Quentin. From seven 
in the morning to six at night we held the Germans, 
although we were inferior in number. Finally over- 
whelmed by numbers we had to retreat again in the 
direction of la Fere. We marched two days and two 
nights without halting and crossed the forest of Nouvion, 
which was full of Boche ambuscades. At the exit of 
this forest a detachment of English troops joined with 
us and on September 2nd the Paris autobuses picked us 
up and transported us to Nanteuil le Haudoin. 

On September 6th we received the order of the com- 
mander in chief calling on us to hold our ground and to 

The Chasseur's Story. 


die rather than give way. The combat commenced on 
the sixth, about seven o'clock in the morning — a terrible 
struggle for three days and nights, when on the ninth 
of September the Bodies began to waver in their re- 
sistance. That was a good augury for us and we re- 
doubled our efforts, which brought about the retreat of 
the Germans. The pursuit commenced and continued to 
Chateau Thierry. There we had a rest of twenty-four 
hours and there we had the pleasure of cleaning up at 
least two hundred Germans whom we found in the cellars 
dead drunk on champagne, their favorite drink. 

We were then carried by taxi-cabs to a village near 
Soissons, where we did not have much trouble in driving 
out the enemy, as they were on the run. In spite of that 
many corpses were strewn over the ground. 

The German retreat continued to Berry an Bac, where 
I was wounded in the right shoulder by two bullets from 
a machine gun. I lay on the ground under fire of the 
enemy's artillery until night fall, when I reached a vil- 
lage, whence I was transported in a camion to the rail- 
road station, where 1 met a number of other wounded. 
We piled into freight cars and reached the hospital at 
Dinan after thirty-six hours. 

In six weeks I was back at the front. I rejoined my 
battalion on the heights of the Meuse. It was now the 
war of the trenches. The winter was not an unhappy 
one. There were not many attacks made or received. 
Each side saved his forces for the spring. 

On the thirteenth of February the order was given to 
attack the crest of Eparges and we drove back the 
Bodies to their last line of trenches, fighting with gre- 
nades, rifle buts and even with our fists. We were for- 
tunate in not losing many men and our attack exceeded 
the expectations of our chiefs. Half of the crest was 
now in our possession. On the ninth of March we at- 
tacked again to take the rest. The attack was admirably 
carried out. Our artillery belched forth a storm of shells 
and the Bodies drew back. After three days of fighting 

120 With the American Ambulance in France. 

all the crest was in our hands save one position, the 
point X. 

In spite of the enemy's counter attacks we remained 
masters of the crest although the enemy counter at- 
tacked seventeen times during the next twenty-four 
hours. Our losses in repulsing these counter attacks 
were heavy. In front of our trenches there was a veri- 
table charnel house where our dead and the enemy's were 
piled up high. 

On April 6th and 7th we again attacked the position 
X, and after a series of assaults the Boches were driven 
down the hill with heavy losses. Our commandant was 
killed by a ball in the forehead and shortly afterwards I 
was wounded by a piece of shell in the left shoulder. I 
did not see the end of the combat, as I was evacuated by 
an ambulance to the rear to Dugny, where I spent three 
weeks in the hospital. 

On the first of August we were given a "repos" of 
forty-five days near Bar le Due. How delicious it was, 
especially in August. Soldiers, civilians, women and 
children — everyone worked at reaping the harvest and 
housing the crops. 

On September 10th we marched to the Champagne 
front and on the morning of the 25th we took part in 
the offensive. The terrain, swept by artillery fire, was 
prepared for us, the troops leaped over the parapet and 
we took the two first lines of the enemy's trenches, 
scarcely firing a shot. The artillery had well done its 

The same day we attacked the second reserve, the last 
German lines. This terrible combat lasted all day, and 
in spite of heavy losses, we broke through their defenses 
and pursued them in the open. At dusk the rain began 
co fall and hindered our advance. We lay out in the mud 
all night, hastily fortifying the ground we had taken, and 
the rain never ceased to fall. What an anxious night 
amid the groans of the wounded and dying and we 
working in the rain with sad hearts. 

The Chasseur s Story. 


Our patrols sent on in advance reported that the 
Bodies were being reinforced and were fortifying- them- 
selves feverishly. At dawn we advanced again. Our 
captain was killed by a ball in the ear, the lieutenant was 
struck by a shell and the two sergeants, brave and good 
comrades, were killed on each side of me. As hardly any 
officers were left I was obliged to take command of our 
section as we were to attack the little fort of the bois 

It was no small undertaking to take this fortress, as it 
was defended by at least two hundred machine guns, 
which did not cease to sweep the ground. The soil was 
well covered with dead and wounded. For two hours we 
lay flat on the ground under a storm of bullets until our 
colonel gave the order to take this redoubt at any price. 
At this moment and as one man the two battalions rose 
and charged forward and after an hour or more of bay- 
onet and grenade fighting we were masters of this fort. 
As booty we captured two hundred machine guns, two 
trench mortars, a pump for liquid fire and two appara- 
tus for asphyxiating gas, besides a quantity of ammu- 
nition, rifles, grenades and other equipment. 

Our battalion flag was cited in the Order of the Armies 
and proposed for the Legion of Honor. 

The same night we were relieved by a battalion of 
Chasseurs, who continued the attack. During our return 
to the rear the Bodies bombarded us with gas shells. I 
was wounded in the head by three pieces of shell, and I 
was almost asphyxiated by the gas that I inhaled. How 
long I lay on the ground I can't say. Two hours at least 
or perhaps less. When I came to myself I perceived a 
feeble light in the distance to which I directed myself, 
and had the good fortune to fall on to a "poste de se- 
cours," where my wounds were dressed. From there I 
was sent to Suippes, where I was placed on a sanitary 
train and sent to a hospital at La Rochelle. 

After my wounds were healed, I reported at my depot 

122 With the American Ambula nce in France. 

whence I was sent to a section on the Pas-de-Calais, a 
rather quiet part of the line. 

During a month's time we were on more or less good 
terms with the Bavarians opposite us and exchanged 
bread, chocolate, cigars and cigarettes until the Bava- 
rians were relieved by a detachment of the Imperial 
Guard. The Prussians blew up seven mines under the 
trench where my company was stationed and buried all 
but eight of my company. Completely dazed, we joined 
ourselves to a small group of bombardiers of another 
company and we retook from the Bodies 80 metres of 
trench by grenade fighting. 

After being relieved from our position we had a short 
rest before we were ordered to Verdun. 

For nine days in the first line the Bodies attacked us 
twelve times with gas and liquid fire. These attacks 
with massed troops cost the Germans enormous losses. 
Our losses were heavy enough from the bombardment of 
cannon of all calibres, a bombardment never ceasing day 
and night. How many of my comrades lie there about 
our positions, still in death ! It was a frightful sight to 
see, the dead heaped up in piles, dead horses, and pieces 
of caissons and cannon strewn around. 

Our trenches were continually damaged by the explo- 
sion of "marmites" and for nine days and nights we had 
little rest. We were always engaged in watching the 
enemy day and night and in repairing the damage done 
to our trenches. 

On the tenth day we were relieved from the first line to 
positions further back, where we were held in reserve, but 
there the "marmites" continually fell. I became an 
"agent de liaison" and carried orders from the Colonel 
of the Brigade. I carried on this duty for eight days, 
when I was wounded by a German shell in both legs, right 
hand and back. I was carried to the poste de secours, 
where I fainted. When I came to myself they lifted me 
into an American automobile having on its side a plate 
inscribed "don de la Societe Hotchkiss." This car car- 

A Trip to the Front. 


ried me to Revigny and from there I was evacuated to 
the American Ambulance of Juilly, where I recognized 
the driver who had carried me to Revigny. 

I can only render homage to the doctors and nurses 
who have surrounded me with such good care during 
my stay here. Homage to America, our Sister Re- 
public ! 



The land of the trenches always seemed a land of mys- 
tery to us. The booming of the cannon every day told 
us where the trenches lay, but a nearer acquaintance 
with the front was well nigh impossible for a non-com- 
batant. Everyone in the ambulance had his or her place 
assigned and was not expected to step out of it. As time 
passed restrictions became more stringent. Each one of 
us was supplied with a "carnet d'etranger" which con- 
tained our photograph and signature and specific direc- 
tions as to all movements in the war zone and this book 
had to be shown on going to Paris and returning by train. 
Our friends at Neuilly in the earlier months could visit 
us by procuring a pass following a week's application. 
Later this was shut down on and it was extremely diffi- 
cult to obtain permission to go to Juilly. The authorities 
could not afford to have Americans or anyone else run- 
ning around in the war zone. 

In the early months of the war it was perhaps feasi- 
ble for some of the American surgeons to visit the front, 
but in our time the matter was so difficult that it was not 
even attempted. 

However, I reasoned that, having worked a year for 
the French wounded, I might be entitled to a trip to the 
front as a sort of recompense. Then, too, having come 

124 With the American Ambulance in France. 

from such a far distance and being so near the front for 
so many months, the regret of missing this experience 
would always be a keen one. It would do no harm to 
try, so forthwith a letter was written to the Surgeon 
General at Headquarters requesting permission. A 
courteous reply was received in a few days enclosing a 
pass to Chalons, either by rail or auto. I chose the latter 
in order to see more of the country and to be more in- 

Early on a sunny morning in June I started with Fa- 
brice, our Italian chauffeur, in the Medecin-Chef's lim- 
ousine. We took the well-known road to Meaux along 
an edge of the Marne battlefield. Leaving Meaux with 
its picturesque old mills in the river and its venerable 
cathedral we passed through beautiful woods until we 
reached La Ferte Jouarre, where we crossed the Marne. 

Near Napoleon's monument on the outskirts of Mont- 
mirail our trip nearly ended disastrously for we discov- 
ered that the car was on fire. The hot gases emerging 
from a hole in the muffler had ignited the oil-soakecl 
wood work and one side of the car was blazing merrily. 
After tearing out the loose boards, waste, rags, extra 
tubes and inflammable material and hurling them out of 
the way, we tried in vain to beat out the fire with our 
overcoats. If it had not been for some water in a wheel 
rut near by, our trip would have ended then and there 
and our car would have been reduced to cinders and 
scrap iron. The kindly shade of an elm tree kept the 
water from drying up by the sun's rays. Our caps an- 
swered for fire buckets to get the fire under control, and 
a peasant with a bucket of water did the rest. Tust at 
that time a military car came along at a great rate of 
speed, its wheels grinding into the very rut which had 
been our salvation. Another remarkable thing was that 
along all the 125 kilometres that we did that day nc 
other rut with water in it was seen. We thanked our 
lucky star that the fire had not reached the gasolene tank, 
crawled into Montmirail with a careful watch alongside 

A Trip to the Front. 


and, after some delay, found a mechanic who made the 
necessary repairs. 

From there on to Chalons the road ran straight as an 
arrow and smooth as a billiard table — the kind of road 
one reads about in novels but hardly expects to ever 
enjoy. Red poppies mingled with the blue of the corn 
flower, grew in profusion, and only needed the white 
shine of the road to complete the tricolor. 

No other accident stopped us, but we were halted at 
every railroad crossing by Territorials who examined our 
pass in a critical manner. 

Chalons is famous historically for the defeat of Attila, 
the Hun, by the Romans and Goths in 451 A. D. The 
town was full of bustle and excitement for it is a great 
army center. The principal hotel with the strange name 
of L'hotel Haute Mere Dieu, was full of officers at lunch 
time, and I managed to find an inconspicuous place in the 
dining room. It was an interesting sight to watch the 
officers of different types, from stout, white-haired gen- 
erals to young dapper lieutenants. I thought I was the 
only American for miles around until I ran into A. Piatt 
Andrews, Director of the Field Ambulance Service, who 
was taking Will Irwin and Arthur Gleason to write up 
an American Field Service section for the instruction 
of the American public. 

According to my instructions, I presented my creden- 
tials at the Service de Sante, and was courteously re- 
ceived by General Bechard, and a fine limousine was 
placed at my disposal with a colonel of the medical 
service as my conductor. 

The General mapped out a plan of a three days' visit 
to the hospitals of Chalons and field hospitals toward the 
front and then asked if there was anything more he 
could do for me. I replied that "I wanted very much to 
go to the trenches." "Ah," he said, "that is a military 
matter and you can only obtain permission from military 
headquarters." This advice was not encouraging but 
was enlightening. So for the present there was nothing 

126 With the American Ambulance in France. 

to do but enjoy the many interesting things to see and 
reserve a trip to the trenches for the dernier coup. 

As Chalons is an important military center there are 
a large number of hospitals there, admirably organized 
and equipped. Among the number of hospitals visited 
was one for mental cases — for brains unbalanced by the 
strain of war. There were a variety of types of mental 
aberration — manias, melancholies, delusions fixed and 
fleeting, mutism in different forms. It was sad indeed 
to see what war had done to these young minds, but 
with it all there was hope that time, rest and quiet would 
work an improvement. There was not the hopeless de- 
pression one feels on entering a ward of blind soldiers. 

A took could be written on the different phases of 
mental disorders caused by this warfare. I shall merely 
relate the features of the curious case of a young artist. 
He was a well-dressed, trim young chap and whenever he 
saw any button unbuttoned, he took it on himself to but- 
ton it. He never spoke a word and apparently did not 
hear anything, as he paid no attention to noises or to 
anything that was said to him. For amusement he 
painted pretty little views of the hospital garden or fan- 
ciful scenes of meadows, streams and willow trees. All 
efforts to get him to write his name or initials on any 
of his paintings failed. Curious that a mind that could 
produce a painting faithful to nature, should lose its 
identity to the extent of being unable to claim the author- 

East of Chalons towards the front at varying inter- 
vals about 12 miles back of the trenches are located a 
number of ambulances which we visited. These field 
hospitals are a series of low, wooden buildings located 
usually in some hollow and further hidden from hostile 
aviators by branches of trees placed on the roofs. Here 
the wounded are received directly by automobile from 
the Postes de Secours or dressing stations. There are 
also bathing establishments where a regiment can be 

A Trip to the Front. 


cleaned up in a day. The soldiers get a hot shower bath 
and a hair cut and have their clothes fumigated. 

Beautifying the field hospitals are well kept flower 
gardens. There are band stands for occasional concerts, 
and reading rooms and small theatres are provided for the 
poilus. Near the entrance to one of the buildings was 
a large hole made by a bomb dropped a few days ago by 
a hostile aviator. Close at hand is always the little ceme- 
tery with the graves close together marked by white 
crosses. One of the ambulances occupies an old farm, 
and its old stone buildings, stables and box-stalls have 
been converted into a well equipped institution. 

Of special interest was an automobile field hospital. 
This was well ecpiipped and so arranged that everything 
could be packed in trucks and moved to any desired loca- 
tion. Electricity was furnished by a dynamo run by a 
truck engine and the X-ray apparatus was similarly sup- 

All these sights were very interesting but the prox- 
imity to the trenches made me all the more anxious to 
visit them. I interviewed my conductor on the subject 
and asked him why I couldn't get permission to go. He 
said "Because we don't want a shell to come along and 
take yovir head off." He added that he had not been to 
the trenches himself as the work there is done by the 
younger men. I then asked him if he would go to the 
Ouartier-General and ask permission for me. He po- 
litely told me he would introduce me, but would rather 
that I spoke for myself. To my complaint that I could 
hardly speak French well enough to address a general 
he smiled and said that I could make myself well under- 
stood. I then prepared my speech and rehearsed it to the 
colonel on our way to headquarters. When we arrived 
at General Gouraud's Etat Major we were formally sa- 
luted by the sentinel on duty as we entered the modest 
brick building. We received word that General Gouraud 
was absent but that his Chief of Staff would see us. An 
orderly, after a short wait, ushered us into a plainly fur- 

128 With the American Ambulance in France. 

nished room, the walls covered with maps, where we- were 
received by the Chief of Staff, an elderly, dignified man. 
After being introduced by the Colonel I made my speech 
and thanks to my preparation got through it quite well. 
The General listened seriously to what I had to say and 
then told me that he would present my request to the 
Commanding General, who alone could give the necessary 
permission. An answer would be sent me to the hotel. 
That night about half-past nine, as I was sitting in the 
hotel dining room chatting with some officers, a soldier 
entered and presented me with a letter by hand, as he 
was instructed. I almost hesitated to open the letter, feel- 
ing sure that my request would meet a polite refusal. 
However, much to my joy the letter said that Capt. 

would have the honor to call for me at half-past 

seven the next morning. 

The next day was one of the most exciting of my life. 
The excitement started in at five o'clock in the morning 
when I was awakened by the noise of cannon rattling the 
window frames. I ran to the window and looked out 
and there, racing across the clear, blue sky, was a tiny 
black object. The cannon were firing at it and making 
the peculiar hollow sound they make when shooting in 
the air. The shells were exploding with their decisive 
little pop around the Taube and at once the rounded, 
white clouds appeared near the aeroplane. I counted 
twenty-seven of these rounded clouds, forming a track 
across the clear, blue heaven, but none of the shells hit 
the Taube, although they seemed to come very close to it. 
It was an interesting and spectacular sight. Three 
bombs were dropped by the German but did little dam- 
age. However, previous attempts had been more suc- 
cessful. On the main street near the hotel were the ruins 
of a house completely demolished by a bomb. Another 
bomb had dropped in the street in front of the cathe- 
dral and had broken some of the stained glass windows 
and peppered the walls of the adjacent buildings. 

Long before half past seven I was walking up and 

A Trip to the Front. 


down before the hotel. Just at the hour a long, rakish, 
military car drove up and a trim officer jumped out and 
we introduced ourselves with the usual formalities. 

In company with several officers we started off at a 
great rate of speed due North. One of the first thing's I 
noticed was a Winchester rifle strapped to the back of 
the front seat. On the outskirts of Chalons we were 
stopped by sentinels and our pass carefully scrutinized. 
Five miles from Chalons we came to the village of Le- 
pine, completely burned by the Germans in their retreat 
after the battle of the Mafne, with the exception of the 
remarkably beautiful church. 

From there on a scene of great activity prevailed. We 
passed companies of troops coming back from the 
trenches — tired and dusty poilus. There were vehicles of 
most every description passing along the road — great 
ammunition camions, motor trucks laden with supplies, 
army wagons, cannon, armored cars, movable kitchens, 
water carts, motor cyclists and even a special motor 
truck for a carrier pigeon equipment. Along the road 
were well arranged water stations where the wants of 
man and beast could be supplied. From time to time we 
passed forges, where horses and mules were being shod 
and broken wagons and artillery carriages were being 
repaired. I wondered how the road stood all the traffic 
and was in such good condition until 1 saw several gangs 
of soldiers busily engaged in keeping it in repair. The 
little villages near the road were full of soldiers, resting, 
washing their clothes, reading, talking and smoking. 
The activity of providing for a great army was every- 
where apparent. There were great piles of hay along the 
roadside, stacks of timber ready for the trenches, barbed 
wire rolls heaped up in great piles, rows of shells, boxes 
of many kinds of stores. Away off in a corral was a 
herd of cattle which was to supply the army with fresh 
beef. Military cars passed us going at a great rate of 
speed and throwing up clouds of dust. Occasionally we 
met detachments of cavalry. 

130 With the American Ambulance in France. 

As we sped on our route over the thirty-five kilometres 
that separate Chalons from the front, we began to hear 
cannon boom in the distance ahead of us. A huge captive 
balloon, shaped like a sausage, could be seen miles away 
over the plateau. I knew it was huge, because although it 
was very high up, it looked enormous. I asked if it was 
French and was told that it was a German balloon over the 
German trenches but some distance back. This was my 
first sight of the German side and the reality of things be- 
gan to be impressive. Off on the left towards Rheims 
three "saucissons" indicated to us where the French lines 
were. At the rapid rate of speed we travelled, we soon 
reached a little village sheltered behind a hill, where we 
dismounted from our automobile. Here we were received 
by the Major in charge and were equipped with steel 
helmets and masks. I asked if these things were neces- 
sary and was informed that there was no telling where 
a shell would burst and, as for the masks, the gas would 
travel five or six kilometres if the wind was favorable. 
There was some difficulty in finding" a casque large 
enough to fit me. Finally after trying several, one was 
found which made a fair fit, but I found it heavy and 
uncomfortable. However, I was very glad to wear it. 
The gas mask was enclosed in a tin box and this I se- 
curely fastened to my belt. Thus equipped we started for 
Suippes, a short distance away. As we came in shell 
range and saw the freshly made shell-holes and heard the 
cannon's noise, now very loud, I must own to a feeling 
of fear, and I believe that the man who says he has no 
fear when he goes under fire for the first time is a liar. 
At the same time along with the fear there was a feeling 
of exhilaration and a desire to see it through. 

We dashed through what was once the prosperous town 
of Suippes, now badly battered by shell fire and deserted. 
The only person to be seen on the long main street was 
a priest hurrying along on foot. He was clad in a black 
cassock and had a steel helmet on his head. We stopped 
on the outskirts of Suippes at a small chateau hidden in 

132 With the American Ambulance in France. 

a grove of woods. Needless to say this was used as a 
hospital for badly wounded men, too badly damaged to 
stand further transportation. The cellar of the building- 
was in readiness to be used in case the bombardment be- 
came dangerous. The Medecin-Chef received us cor- 
dially, and served champagne, tea and cakes in the gar- 
den. He said that an hour before two German shells had 
passed over the trees and fallen in the fields on the other 
side of the garden. The cannon at three miles from the 
trenches sounded pretty loud to me, but no one seemed in 
the least concerned. The officers chatted over their re- 
freshments and asked me questions about the American 
Ambulance. I heard two officers having an animated 
discussion and thought that it must be news of a German 
attack ahead of us, or at least an account of a trench 
raid. When I listened to what they said I was relieved 
and perhaps disappointed to learn that they were dis- 
cussing the merits of an aria of a recent opera ! 

In one of Gouverneur Morris' writings he brings out 
the attitude of the French soldiers to danger as illus- 
trated by Dumas' famous character Athos. He may be 
excitable over the ordinary episodes of life, but when 
real danger comes his nerves are like cold steel. And 
so it seemed to me on my visit to the front. The ex- 
pressed vivacity of the commonplace existence is replaced 
by a calmness and determination of spirit as danger is 
approached. It seemed as if every man from the day he 
was mobilized had devoted his life to his country and 
every day that he was spared meant one more day of 
grace. If death came, as it surely would to many of 
them, it would find them calm and ready. 

After thanking our host for his hospitality, we climbed 
into another automobile which was protected to the ex- 
tent of being roofed over and covered in on all sides with 
little windows in the walls. As we passed out of Suippes 
it was reassuring to see the peasants gathering their crops 
within shell-fire range. The road now ran straight as 
a die for the Xorth. The roadway, partly lined with trees, 

A Trip to the Front. 


some of them smashed hy shells, was narrow and de- 
serted. Between the tree trunks wires had heen strung 
and interwoven with cut branches which partially hid 
from the enemy's vision any body of troops or vehicles. 
My eyes were glued to the little window and what I could 
see through the narrow aperture and through rifts in 
the protective barriers of branches looked something like 
this : 

The great plain of Champagne stretched out before us. 
On the left the mountains of Rheims appeared in the 
distance. On the right the plateau stretched off into 
space as far as the eye could see. The country was al- 
most flat. There were low rises of ground, hardly to be 
called hills. There was not a sign of a living thing ex- 
cept for one weary looking poilu, who was resting with 
his back against a tree along the wayside. Not a house 
or a tree was standing in the distance. The whole coun- 
try looked as if it had been clawed by some immense 
giant in his rage. There were lines of trenches running 
in bewildering directions, barbed wire entanglements, 
great shell-holes. A little grass grew here and there — 
the rest was the grayish white clay of Champagne. Our 
car lost no time in covering the three miles, and before 
I realized where we were, we passed through the ruined 
village of Souain and stopped behind a protecting bank. 
Right at hand in the bank was a doorway and stairs 
leading to a "Poste de Secours." The Medecin-Chef re- 
ceived us and proudly showed us his subterranean hos- 
pital. It was more than a dressing station. It was a 
hospital where badly wounded men, especially abdominal 
cases, could be operated on right away without the dam- 
age of transportation and loss of precious time. The 
Major had a right to be proud of his institution, as it w as 
splendid in every way. Deep in the earth, well protected 
from shells, were a series of corridors with rooms lead- 
ing off from them with cement floors, walls of wood 
lined with tin painted white, and lighted by electricity and 
acetylene gas. There were operating rooms, X-ray room, 

134 With the American Ambulance in France. 

wards for patients, kitchen and store rooms, all complete. 
Here the wounded are carried, walk or crawl from the 
firing trench by connecting trenches called "boyaux." 
Wounded that can be transported are sent to the rear 
by night in automobiles over the same road we had come. 
Dinner was being cooked when we arrived. The stove 
was large and burned charcoal, the fumes making their 
exit by a pipe leading through the roof and ending at 
the ground level. Charcoal gives no smoke and tells no 
tales. The night before as they were finishing some of 
the construction, two shells dropped near the entrance, 
the noise of the hammers having indicated the position 

A fine spring of clear water was within easy reach of 
the entrance. Towards the rear was all that was left 
of the village of Souain. It was simply a disordered 
mass of stones in hopeless confusion, a relic of the great 
offensive in September, 1915. 

When we climbed up on top of the bank along side 
the entrance and looked ahead we saw, 1200 metres 
away, a curving white line extending across the crest of 
a little rise in a wavy outline. This was the first line of 
German trenches. The French first line, nearer to us, 
showed the same white curved line — white because all the 
soil is a whitish clay. The "boyaux," also curving, led 
down to our station. As far as the eye could see the ter- 
rain was hopelessly clawed by pick and shovel and torn by 
shell explosions. A few stumps of trees remained here 
and there. There were booms of cannon at irregular 
intervals — French 75 and 105 and German 105. It was 
fascinating and thrilling. The day was bright and clear 
without a breath of air stirring, and between the cannon 
shots there was a death-like silence. One knew that 
within the range of vision there were thousands of men 
standing in those lines of trenches extended before us 
and which stretched over 500 miles long from the Swiss 
frontier to the North Sea. Yet there was not a sign of 
life movement, and had it not been for the unceasing 

.-i Trip to the Front. 


explosions of the cannon one might have had the same 
feeling of solitude as when looking over the barren old 
lava flows of Hawaii. The artillery, so carefully hidden 
that it could not be seen at all, added to the mystery of 
it all. The earth and rocks thrown into the air by the 
shell explosions was the only sign of movement. As we 
looked out at the scene which to me was most fascinating 
and thought-producing, a cannon suddenly banged — it 
seemed right behind us. I looked around and could see 
nothing but the ruined village. They told me it was a 
soixante-quinze hidden in the ruins, but there was noth- 
ing to be seen of men, cannon or smoke. It seemed like 
a polite invitation to get down which we did at once. 

Just then the German cannon started up furiously with 
a different tone. "They are shooting at an aeroplane," 
said an officer without looking up. Sure enough, away 
up over the lines, was a French aeroplane with shells 
bursting around it. It seemed as if it must be struck, 
but it was not and sailed majestically back to the rear. 

It had come time to depart but I did not want to leave. 
I was fascinated and at the same time bewildered. I 
wanted more time to take it all in and comprehend it. 
This was War as I had never seen it. For a year in 
hospitals I had cared for wounded, torn by shells and 
bullets, but here was where men were killed and lay 
unburied and rotted in the sunshine. A magnificent test 
of courage to stand up and face the foe with shells burst- 
ing and death hovering everywhere, but why should 
there be war? A curse on those who were responsible 
for it! 

We thanked our host, climbed into our car and went 
back by the road we had come, past the ruined village, 
past the poilu still resting with his back against a tree. 
My eyes were glued to the small window as I looked out 
on the vast scene of desolation and thought of the brave 
boys lined up there in the trenches and of their mothers, 
wives and sweethearts anxious in their homes throughout 
the land. War seemed an unholy and wicked thing to me. 

136 With the American Ambulance in Prance. 

The sound o f the cannon gradually became dimmer 
until as we approached Chalons we could hear it no more 
and our visit to the trenches was only a very vivid 



After a year's work among the wounded we came to 
feel very much as if we belonged there. Neutrality was 
only a form laid out by governmental decree. We were 
heart and soul with France in her struggle. Conse- 
quently the time of departure was a sad one. The night 
before we were to leave, we were called into one of the 
wards where all of the blesses who could move or be 
moved had assembled as well as the staff. At the end 
of the ward was a table draped with a French flag on 
which reposed a beautiful large silver cup and a bunch of 
roses. We were escorted down the ward to our seats at 
the table to the accompaniment of much handclapping. 
As soon as we were seated a sergeant read this speech so 
full of delicate French expression. 

Monsieur le Medecin-Chef. 

C'est le coeur serre, que ce soir, je me permets de 
prendre la parole, an nom de mes camarades, pour vous 
faire nos adieux. Et pourtant, cher Docteur, je n'ai. ni 
la capacite necessaire, ni les qualites d'un orateur, pour 
vous exprimer comme je le voudrais. comme je le res- 
sens : notre reconnaissance. 

Yoici plus d'un an, que vous avez quitte votre patrie, 
votre maison, vos interets et que vous avez traverse les 
oceans pour nous apporter vos soins eclaires. Rien, ne 
vous y obligeait : Neutre, vous pouviez suivre le conflit, 
d'un oeil lointain. Mais votre conscience vous a indique 
un devoir plus haut et vous avez voulu payer de votre 


Quel joli o-este! Aussi, Docteur, combien nous vous 

Pendant un an, vous vous etes penche sur nos souf- 
frances, vous etes intervenu pour les guerir. Combien 
d'entre ceux qui sont passes ici, vous doivent la vie ! 

En nieme temps, place a la tete de cette importante 
formation, vous lui donniez une impulsion nouvelle et 
vous lui faisiez atteindre son rendement maximum. 

L' Ambulance Americaine de Juilly a ete pour nous une 
grande famille. Aussi, a cote des impressions Horribles 
de cette guerre, qui ensanglante presque l'Europe entiere 
garderons nous, de notre sejour pres de vous, un souvenir 
tres doux et ineffacable. 

Je ne voudrais point terminer sans exprimer a Madame 
Judd tout notre reconnaissance. Par ses bonnes paroles 
et son charme, Madame Judd savait nous reconforter, 
nous faisant oublier nos souff ranees, physiques et morales. 

Permettez-moi, Docteur, de vous offrir ce souvenir, an 
nom de tons. 

C'est pen, en comparaison de ce que vous avez fait 
pour nous. Puisse-t-il, vous rappeler quelques fois, vos 
petits blesses de Juilly. 

Dans quelques jours, cher Docteur, vous serez de 
l'autre cote le 1'ocean. mais soyez persuade, que jamais 
nous ne vous oublierons et souvent notre coeur ira vous 
rejoindre dans cette Amerique que nous ne connaissons 
pas, mais que nous avons appris a aimer. 

Vive I' Amerique. 

Vive La France. 

He then presented us with the loving cup and roses. 
It was then my turn, but with such a lump in my throat, 
it would have been difficult to have responded in my 
native tongue. I got through it some way and tried to 
tell the three hundred French people present that America 
had not forgotten what Lafayette and his comrades had 
done for us in our dark days, that victory would come 
for the side of right and that France would fight on, as 
she had in the past, until the invader was driven out. 

138 With the American Ambulance in France. 

That we had come from the far-off islands of the Pacific 
to show our sympathy for the cause of France and to 
work for her brave wounded soldiers. Now that it had 
come time for us to depart we would carry with us price- 
less memories of our friends, the poilus. 

During" our last few hours at the ambulance we made 
our farewell call on the Mayor, and then shook hands 
and said goodby to every one of the poilus. As many 
as could accompanied us to the doorway where, as we 
entered our automobile, a farewell cheer was given us. 
There were tears too in many an eye and our eyes were 
not dry. We felt as if we were leaving a home and dear 
friends in a great struggle. 

It is easier to get out of France than to enter it. Our 
American passports were vised at the consulate, then at 
the Prefecture of Police our "permis de sejour" were 
taken up and permission to depart was authorized on our 
passports. There remained the trip to Bordeaux, with its 
charming views of the Loire valley, Cathedral of Orleans, 
Chateaux of Blois and Amboise. 

About the only sign of war were husky, well-fed Ger- 
man prisoners working along the railway. At Bordeaux 
the passports had to be again stamped and we bade fare- 
well to good French cooking by a dinner at the famous 
''Chapon Fin." 

The "Lafayette" lay at a quai piled high with an end- 
less amount of freight from America. We pulled out at 
midnight and by daybreak we were at the mouth of the 
Garonne and plunged at once into the swell of the Bay 
of Biscay. The green shores of France gradually faded 
away in the distance. Xo destroyers accompanied us. 
Our good ship's speed and the rough waters were our 
best protection. The ship was crowded and there were 
some famous people aboard. It was not a gay crowd and 
even the usual concert was omitted. Life preservers were 
kept handy and there was a general feeling of relief 
after the second day of our voyage was ended success- 
full}-. Nothing occurred to mark the trip until the last 

Leaving France and Home Again. 


day out. When we were sitting- out on deck in the after- 
noon we suddenly noticed that the sun, which had been 
shining in our faces, now shone over our shoulders. 
Looking- astern we could see a wide curved streak made 
by the change in our course. At once rumors flew about 
the ship— "The Kronprinzessin Cecelie had escaped and 
was after us. "A woman passenger had received a 
wireless telling her to wear her life-preserver day and 
night." "A submarine had been sighted," etc. No in- 
formation could be obtained from the officers. They 
maintained their usual imperturbability. The look-out 
men in the crow's nest were relieved frequently. The 
gun crew were constantly on the watch. We could not 
believe that danger threatened us right off our home 
port. There was nothing to do that night but go to bed 
with a feeling of uncertainty. 

Early the next morning we were off Sandy Hook. 
When the pilot came aboard we learned then for the first 
time of the depredations of the U-S3, of the torpedoing of 
passenger ships off our coast and of the rescue of women 
and children from the icy waters. We were thankful to 
have escaped a similar fate. 

The city was hidden in a blanket of fog so that not 
even the unique sky line of the "scrapers" could be seen. 
The custom house examination is usually as disagreeable 
as officiousness and lack of courtesy can make it and this 
trip was no exception. 

It was rather early in the morning and not one fa- 
miliar face was to be seen on the dock. We were soon 
plunged into the roar of New York. How different 
everything seemed ! There were no uniforms on the 
street and there were so many men ! Everyone was hur- 
rying about his business and the war might have been on 
another planet. 

At night Broadway was ablaze with lights, with gay 
restaurants filled with people eating long course dinners. 
The hotels were turning away people and visitors had to 
seek accommodations in Jersey City or Brooklyn. Thea- 

140 With the American Ambulance in France. 

tres and cabarets were jammed with gay and thoughtless 
crowds. Money was being spent like water. Much of 
this money was war profits — the tears and agony of 
Europe. I heard a well informed person say "The United 
States has made $20 per capita out of the war and has 
given less than 35 cents to France and Belgium." 

Years of lack of education in our history and ideals 
combined with apathy and careless living had done its 

The American people as a whole little realized the pur- 
poses of the war and the gravity of the situation. The 
idea that the Allies were fighting our war, for our prin- 
ciples of liberty and humanity and that America was 
imperilled by Germany's lust for world conquest had en- 
tered the heads of a very small proportion of our fellow 
citizens. Instead of that the active propaganda for the 
German language and "Kultur" in our schools, colleges 
and legislatures, combined with the activities of the Ger- 
man press and German organizations, had weakened the 
development of a national opposition to Germany's plan 
of world-empire. The pulpits were woefully deficient 
in presenting to the people the moral issues of the war, 
some pulpits even preaching a spirit of "peace at any 
price." Public writers, teachers and professors neglected 
their opportunity of bringing to the minds of America 
what the tragedy of Europe meant. 

There were some brave spirits who kept America's soul 
burning as Theodore Roosevelt, Lyman Abbot, George 
H. Putnam and James M. Beck, and noble women in 
different parts of the land were working for the suffering 
humanity of Europe. The 50,000 or so Americans in the 
British Army, the Americans in the Foreign Legion, the 
American aviators, the Ambulance drivers, doctors and 
nurses all helped to keep alive in France a friendly feel- 
ing for the United States and bring closer to our people 
the cause they tried to serve. 

We could not get used to the indifference and smug 
self-satisfaction in the atmosphere. Will America never 

Leaving France and Home Again. 


wake up? Well, perhaps she will when more Americans 
are murdered on the seas by the pirate's submarines, and 
more of our rights are trampled on. 

I listened impatiently one evening to a long argument 
of an eloquent young minister against military training. 
The gist of his argument was that we should not fight 
until we were attacked and then all the men could be 
called on. He failed to bring out what a happy slaughter 
these unprepared defenders would make for the Huns. 
The Pacifists at 3,000 miles away from the trenches 
talked glibly about peace on earth, but when it was pro- 
posed to them, none of them relished the idea of having 
their children spitted on a Prussian bayonet. 

During several months in the East I spent some time 
raising money for ambulances. I found the Americans 
generous when the good work that our boys were doing 
at the front was brought to their attention. There was a 
woeful lack of understanding of the situation. If the 
American people were not ready to go into the war, it 
was largely because the facts had not been properly pre- 
sented to them. 

If the realization of what the war meant was feeble in 
Xew York, it faded away as one went West, until on the 
Pacific coast we found that the war was almost an unu- 
sual topic of conversation. 

Again embarked on the ocean, this time with no fear 
of German submarines, we sailed the Pacific until our 
beloved islands came in sight and we were home again. 

5 69 i 

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